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Author Topic: Americans are inexplicable  (Read 8655 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 04, 2011, 11:33:40 AM »

Taking into account that the US citizens make 80%+ users of the forum I am interested in the opinions of the rest about them. There are loads of things they discuss about that I can't understand at all and I wonder wether you (people outside the USA) experience a similar thing.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 11:35:26 AM by Michał Kalina » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2011, 11:58:23 AM »

Taking into account that the US citizens make 80%+ users of the forum I am interested in the opinions of the rest about them. There are loads of things they discuss about that I can't understand at all and I wonder wether you (people outside the USA) experience a similar thing.

Could you give an example or two, that would help. Thanks.
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2011, 11:59:38 AM »

Your jokes, your references to the popculture, some of your problems, your slang...
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 11:59:49 AM by Michał Kalina » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2011, 12:06:54 PM »

Your jokes, your references to the popculture, some of your problems, your slang...

For shizzle my Michizzle
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2011, 12:08:01 PM »

I'm sorry I'm still not sure what you are asking. I was raised bilingual (English & Spanish) and I can assure you every culture and every language has it's own hmor, slang and expressions that don't seem to make sense to outsiders.
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2011, 12:26:12 PM »

I'm sorry I'm still not sure what you are asking. I was raised bilingual (English & Spanish) and I can assure you every culture and every language has it's own hmor, slang and expressions that don't seem to make sense to outsiders.

I agree, you have to be more specific.
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2011, 12:28:35 PM »

Taking into account that the US citizens make 80%+ users of the forum I am interested in the opinions of the rest about them. There are loads of things they discuss about that I can't understand at all and I wonder wether you (people outside the USA) experience a similar thing.
I am Canadian and I don't understand the extremism sometimes as if issues are black & white.  I don't understand the whole Obama thing.  When he was elected it looked like they were all proud to have their first black president and it was a turning point in their history like Kennedy and then suddenly after he was in office the most horrible things began to be said about him on the internet.  I don't undertand why disagreements have to get so personal: I mean you can disagree with a person without making a demon out of him.  Let's be civil.  Some times I see that here too when disagreements turn so vicious.


Also what I see as a tendency for Americans to be so American-centred.  There is a whole world out there and America is not the centre of the universe.  Just my view, but it seems to me that Americans don't study enough world history when they are young and are not aware of world politics/ history.  Or world literature too.  And I don't understand the whole gun thing.  It just seems so violent.

On the other hand I think Americans are in my opinion the most generous people as a nation.  They really donate a lot of money whenever there is a disaster any where in the world.  And they are very friendly truly interested in people when you meet them.  Non-Americans find this a problem, but I think Americans are kind without another motive  at all.
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2011, 12:31:18 PM »

I agree that every nation has its own culture but I wonder whether fellow foreigners on the forum have the problem with understanding all American cultural references and traces too.
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2011, 12:49:58 PM »

And I don't understand the whole gun thing.  It just seems so violent.

That's one of the things I mean.
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2011, 12:51:24 PM »

And I don't understand the whole gun thing.  It just seems so violent.

That's one of the things I mean.

This and most of those are Politics Forum stuff.  Grin
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2011, 02:08:15 PM »

If I may speak up as an American who has travelled and lived outside the US for considerable periods of time, I'd like to offer some insights.  I am the decendent of:

1) a convict expelled from his homeland and 'sentenced' to America.
2) several war refugees.
3) numerous people seeking fortunes in the New World.
4) a bunch of others I can't account for.

The American mythos within my lineage, as a result of the circumstances listed above, goes something like this:

1) my homeland was lousy.
2) my countrymen were backwards and/or mean.
3) God has been merciful in bringing me here.
4) hey, it beats prison back home.

Americans are at once attracted to other cultures as they are revulsed by them, the latter in large part because we are the descendents of the discontent from your country (fill in the nation).

The gun issue is, in large part, due to systemic distrust of government.  After all, many of us here are the descendents of those who were persecuted by their home governments.  Guns make it awful difficult for the state to do 'what they did last time.'  Americans, traditionally speaking, don't like government or being governed, but they rebel mostly by voting wildly.

The matter of Obama, I agree, ought to be discussed in the political forum.  However, I will say it is an American tradition to vote for someone and then make his/her life as difficult as possible.  Politicians and clergy are expected to 'stand and take it.'  The ones that don't either are really, really good at manipulating or they have short careers.

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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2011, 02:59:33 PM »

Or world literature too.

American lack of familiarity with the canon is no worse than in Europe, really. The entire West is on its way to being a post-literary society. I'm always amazed when I visit the homes of old folks in the former Communist world to see the massive libraries of fine literature they acquired. Those books are now neglected because the younger generation reads for pleasure much less. Television and the internet compete for one's time.

Quote
On the other hand I think Americans are in my opinion the most generous people as a nation. They really donate a lot of money whenever there is a disaster any where in the world.

Per capita giving by the United States is considerably smaller than some other countries.

Quote
And they are very friendly truly interested in people when you meet them.

This is mostly fake. Americans might chat with you, but they rarely intend true friendship. Even exchanging contact details doesn't necessarily mean that they ever want to see you again. Among my kin in the Deep South, hospitality is only given if there's serious prior acquaintance; people are accustomed to say "come by and see us", but if an outsider really does take them up on the offer, it's extremely awkward. And of course even the hollow invitations will only be extended to someone who doesn't have dark skin and who isn't from a country considered terrorist (which really narrows it down).

I spend a lot of the year traveling and staying with local people all over the world. Almost anywhere I can knock on a door and ask for a place to spend the night, then leave the next morning having established a lasting friendship. It's not just in countries famed for their hospitality like the Muslim world; it holds even for places with a brusque reputation like the Balkans and Israel. But the fact that my compatriots in the US would have me driven out of their community (and I've seen this happen to other decent travelers) really debunks any notion that we're a welcoming society.
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2011, 03:01:26 PM »

Taking into account that the US citizens make 80%+ users of the forum I am interested in the opinions of the rest about them. There are loads of things they discuss about that I can't understand at all and I wonder wether you (people outside the USA) experience a similar thing.
I am Canadian and I don't understand the extremism sometimes as if issues are black & white.  I don't understand the whole Obama thing.  When he was elected it looked like they were all proud to have their first black president

Hey now! On that issue, he is both "black" and "white"!
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2011, 03:03:45 PM »

This is mostly fake. Americans might chat with you, but they rarely intend true friendship. Even exchanging contact details doesn't necessarily mean that they ever want to see you again. Among my kin in the Deep South, hospitality is only given if there's serious prior acquaintance; people are accustomed to say "come by and see us", but if an outsider really does take them up on the offer, it's extremely awkward. And of course even the hollow invitations will only be extended to someone who doesn't have dark skin and who isn't from a country considered terrorist (which really narrows it down).

I spend a lot of the year traveling and staying with local people all over the world. Almost anywhere I can knock on a door and ask for a place to spend the night, then leave the next morning having established a lasting friendship. It's not just in countries famed for their hospitality like the Muslim world; it holds even for places with a brusque reputation like the Balkans and Israel. But the fact that my compatriots in the US would have me driven out of their community (and I've seen this happen to other decent travelers) really debunks any notion that we're a welcoming society.

Maybe they just don't like you.
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2011, 03:12:30 PM »

It is certainly an American quality that we are on the whole are more "friendly" than most, but also engage in a strange quick intimacy with little follow-up with people.

This is my experience living elsewhere in the world and living with a variety of folks from all over the globe.

I can say that many Americans are friendly, but don't follow up on the expectations of what many others would consider friendship.

The word "friend" is of little meaning in American IMHO. Facebook is just the extension American personal relations. Everyone has many dozens of "friends" in RL and at a dozen "best" friends as well.
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2011, 03:31:54 PM »

If I may speak up as an American who has travelled and lived outside the US for considerable periods of time, I'd like to offer some insights.  I am the decendent of:

1) a convict expelled from his homeland and 'sentenced' to America.
2) several war refugees.
3) numerous people seeking fortunes in the New World.
4) a bunch of others I can't account for.

The American mythos within my lineage, as a result of the circumstances listed above, goes something like this:

1) my homeland was lousy.
2) my countrymen were backwards and/or mean.
3) God has been merciful in bringing me here.
4) hey, it beats prison back home.

Americans are at once attracted to other cultures as they are revulsed by them, the latter in large part because we are the descendents of the discontent from your country (fill in the nation).

The gun issue is, in large part, due to systemic distrust of government.  After all, many of us here are the descendents of those who were persecuted by their home governments.  Guns make it awful difficult for the state to do 'what they did last time.'  Americans, traditionally speaking, don't like government or being governed, but they rebel mostly by voting wildly.

The matter of Obama, I agree, ought to be discussed in the political forum.  However, I will say it is an American tradition to vote for someone and then make his/her life as difficult as possible.  Politicians and clergy are expected to 'stand and take it.'  The ones that don't either are really, really good at manipulating or they have short careers.



Actually what you say is really helpful especially about the it being an American tradtion to be so hard on your elected representatives.  I could never understand that.

Also about lAmericans leaving "bad" coutnries.  Maybe that is an established mindset based on a "myth" and is not really true.  Americans always have to be best at everything and have the biggest.  I remember seeing a Baskin Robbins poster when I was a little kid visting the USA and it said soomething branches "in the world" and listed all the branches or stores in the USA.  Even as a kid and a non-American I could see that the USA was not the world but that is the way that Americans think.
As a canadian, most of us say we our ancestors came here (mine over 100 years ago) for a btter=economics not poverty life.
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« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2011, 03:34:00 PM »

Taking into account that the US citizens make 80%+ users of the forum I am interested in the opinions of the rest about them. There are loads of things they discuss about that I can't understand at all and I wonder wether you (people outside the USA) experience a similar thing.
I am Canadian and I don't understand the extremism sometimes as if issues are black & white.  I don't understand the whole Obama thing.  When he was elected it looked like they were all proud to have their first black president and it was a turning point in their history like Kennedy and then suddenly after he was in office the most horrible things began to be said about him on the internet.  I don't undertand why disagreements have to get so personal: I mean you can disagree with a person without making a demon out of him.  Let's be civil.  Some times I see that here too when disagreements turn so vicious.


Also what I see as a tendency for Americans to be so American-centred.  There is a whole world out there and America is not the centre of the universe.  Just my view, but it seems to me that Americans don't study enough world history when they are young and are not aware of world politics/ history.  Or world literature too.  And I don't understand the whole gun thing.  It just seems so violent.



I'm American and I don't understand those things either! More of us are in my group, I suspect. We just keep quiet.
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« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2011, 03:36:04 PM »

As another Canadian, I feel much the same as IreneOlinyk. My wife is US born, but has been here long enough that she finds Americans (including very often her relatives) to be on a different wavelength. I have set foot in at least 35 states (+DC). I'm close enough to the border to be in the US within a half hour. But every time I visit, I feel more and more that I'm in a foreign country. Sometimes it's hard to pinpoint exactly why, because the casual viewer will likely see all the similarities first, but there really is a difference that comes out once you dig a bit deeper.

In "Other Topics" someone posted a map dividing the world into West and East. The USA is labelled "USA Best Nation on Earth Man!" But I think the arrow pointing to it, labelled "All By Itself" says a whole lot more. The patriotism as expressed by Americans (as in the map I just mentioned and yes, USAers should be proud of their country) often degenerates into a curious mix of chauvinism and provincialism.

Truth be told, though, we could also have a thread "Russians/Canadians/Greeks/Poles/etc. are inexplicable".
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« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2011, 03:39:48 PM »

In "Other Topics" someone posted a map dividing the world into West and East. The USA is labelled "USA Best Nation on Earth Man!" But I think the arrow pointing to it, labelled "All By Itself" says a whole lot more. The patriotism as expressed by Americans (as in the map I just mentioned and yes, USAers should be proud of their country) often degenerates into a curious mix of chauvinism and provincialism.

Just for the record, that map that I posted (and created) wasn't meant to be an expression of patriotism, it was an attack on the way that some Americans caricature and stereotype the rest of the world, and generally just don't know much about anyone outside America.
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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2011, 03:41:02 PM »

.

Truth be told, though, we could also have a thread "Russians/Canadians/Greeks/Poles/etc. are inexplicable".

I agree.  Everyone just loves to hate Americans.  And because when they travel they are so open and friendly to everyone more people have had personal experiences with them.  
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« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2011, 03:52:03 PM »

In "Other Topics" someone posted a map dividing the world into West and East. The USA is labelled "USA Best Nation on Earth Man!" But I think the arrow pointing to it, labelled "All By Itself" says a whole lot more. The patriotism as expressed by Americans (as in the map I just mentioned and yes, USAers should be proud of their country) often degenerates into a curious mix of chauvinism and provincialism.

Just for the record, that map that I posted (and created) wasn't meant to be an expression of patriotism, it was an attack on the way that some Americans caricature and stereotype the rest of the world, and generally just don't know much about anyone outside America.

There is an unfortunate rise in a Protestant evangelical fusion of 'religion' and nationalism which is being trumpeted as 'American exceptionalism' which plays to this 'All by Itself" mindset. I find the rhetoric somewhat shrill and bordering on scary at times.
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« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2011, 04:11:19 PM »

In "Other Topics" someone posted a map dividing the world into West and East. The USA is labelled "USA Best Nation on Earth Man!" But I think the arrow pointing to it, labelled "All By Itself" says a whole lot more. The patriotism as expressed by Americans (as in the map I just mentioned and yes, USAers should be proud of their country) often degenerates into a curious mix of chauvinism and provincialism.

Just for the record, that map that I posted (and created) wasn't meant to be an expression of patriotism, it was an attack on the way that some Americans caricature and stereotype the rest of the world, and generally just don't know much about anyone outside America.

It is because historically Americans pretty much don't need to. It is a country that has been self-sufficient and free from any serious geographical entanglements and any entanglements abroad it has had to deal, it has been pretty much successful from the American POV of course.

But all that is starting to change . . .
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« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2011, 04:23:11 PM »

There is an assumption in this thread that America has a unified culture that marks us as distinctly American. I would contend against this idea and say that even within America, we only have sub cultures without a meta-culture (though the sub-cultures are different from other world cultures, thus Americans as a whole appear different).

For instance, spend time in Dallas, TX, Abilene, TX, a small town in Missouri, a small town in Washington, Los Angeles, CA, and New York, New York and you will experience multiple cultures that are greatly distinct from each other.

For instance, name an American language, cuisine, music style, etc. Fact is, every dialect of English found in America, every type of food, every type of music, are parts of American sub-culture...but there is no unifying factor in American culture. I love cajun food because of the spices, but most people in the Northeastern United States will hate it because it's too spicy (and apparently the only spice they're aware of in New England is ketchup). A meal in the midwest will gross out someone from the West Coast. The accents of someone from southwest Louisiana or northern Alabama are almost unrecognizable to someone from Boston or Maine.

It used to be said that there was an underlying ethos that united Americans, one of the first cultures built upon a unifying idea rather than language or any other cultural traits; but we don't even have that anymore.

If anything, there is no such thing as an American culture; just multiple cultures unified by a government. Thus, what many "foreigners" (such a subjective term!) fail to realize when they meet an American is they are not meeting someone who represents American culture, but only represents one of the cultures in the nation of the United States. Thus, the US appears confusing and contradictory to the rest of the world because we are a contradiction.
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« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2011, 04:45:57 PM »

I agree with everything you said except the idea that we do not have a 'meta-culture.'  I think we do, actually several.  The first is our political system at the national level, and the second is popular religion.  They do tend to be pervaded with similar notions no matter what region you are in.

There is an assumption in this thread that America has a unified culture that marks us as distinctly American. I would contend against this idea and say that even within America, we only have sub cultures without a meta-culture (though the sub-cultures are different from other world cultures, thus Americans as a whole appear different).

For instance, spend time in Dallas, TX, Abilene, TX, a small town in Missouri, a small town in Washington, Los Angeles, CA, and New York, New York and you will experience multiple cultures that are greatly distinct from each other.

For instance, name an American language, cuisine, music style, etc. Fact is, every dialect of English found in America, every type of food, every type of music, are parts of American sub-culture...but there is no unifying factor in American culture. I love cajun food because of the spices, but most people in the Northeastern United States will hate it because it's too spicy (and apparently the only spice they're aware of in New England is ketchup). A meal in the midwest will gross out someone from the West Coast. The accents of someone from southwest Louisiana or northern Alabama are almost unrecognizable to someone from Boston or Maine.

It used to be said that there was an underlying ethos that united Americans, one of the first cultures built upon a unifying idea rather than language or any other cultural traits; but we don't even have that anymore.

If anything, there is no such thing as an American culture; just multiple cultures unified by a government. Thus, what many "foreigners" (such a subjective term!) fail to realize when they meet an American is they are not meeting someone who represents American culture, but only represents one of the cultures in the nation of the United States. Thus, the US appears confusing and contradictory to the rest of the world because we are a contradiction.
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« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2011, 05:08:10 PM »

There is an assumption in this thread that America has a unified culture that marks us as distinctly American. I would contend against this idea and say that even within America, we only have sub cultures without a meta-culture (though the sub-cultures are different from other world cultures, thus Americans as a whole appear different).

For instance, spend time in Dallas, TX, Abilene, TX, a small town in Missouri, a small town in Washington, Los Angeles, CA, and New York, New York and you will experience multiple cultures that are greatly distinct from each other.

For instance, name an American language, cuisine, music style, etc. Fact is, every dialect of English found in America, every type of food, every type of music, are parts of American sub-culture...but there is no unifying factor in American culture. I love cajun food because of the spices, but most people in the Northeastern United States will hate it because it's too spicy (and apparently the only spice they're aware of in New England is ketchup). A meal in the midwest will gross out someone from the West Coast. The accents of someone from southwest Louisiana or northern Alabama are almost unrecognizable to someone from Boston or Maine.

It used to be said that there was an underlying ethos that united Americans, one of the first cultures built upon a unifying idea rather than language or any other cultural traits; but we don't even have that anymore.

If anything, there is no such thing as an American culture; just multiple cultures unified by a government. Thus, what many "foreigners" (such a subjective term!) fail to realize when they meet an American is they are not meeting someone who represents American culture, but only represents one of the cultures in the nation of the United States. Thus, the US appears confusing and contradictory to the rest of the world because we are a contradiction.

America certainly isn't alone in this regard.  Go to England, a small island nation about the size of one of our medium-small states.  Someone from south England is going to have a very different dialect than someone from York and the foods and attitudes will be fairly distinct as well.

And actually, America can be fairly easily distinguished by a few cultures: rural and city and North and South.  American rural communities are virtually identical: you have the main road off the highway with whatever establishments the town has (homogenized even further by the invasion of corporate America into small communities, the family diners are giving way to McDonald's and Burger King) and two churches across the street from each other (whatever the two popular denominations are, up North it will be Lutheran and Catholic, down South Baptist and Methodist), and while the residents will be friendly enough you will always be an outsider if you weren't born there.  The cities will be identical as well, the main difference being architecture: you'll have the corrupt city government and affectations of being "cultured", the well-to-do and gentrifying areas and the ghettoes.  By and large the rural areas will be "conservative" and the urban areas will be "liberal".  North and South only really distinguish the rural communities, in the North there's likely to be a local bar or two, in the South you'll have to get to know the guy with the moonshine still.

The main exception is Florida, which is a backward and nonsensical state, where the further north you drive the more Southern you're getting and the further south you drive the more things will be Northern.
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« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2011, 05:35:11 PM »

There is an assumption in this thread that America has a unified culture that marks us as distinctly American. I would contend against this idea and say that even within America, we only have sub cultures without a meta-culture (though the sub-cultures are different from other world cultures, thus Americans as a whole appear different).

For instance, spend time in Dallas, TX, Abilene, TX, a small town in Missouri, a small town in Washington, Los Angeles, CA, and New York, New York and you will experience multiple cultures that are greatly distinct from each other.

For instance, name an American language, cuisine, music style, etc. Fact is, every dialect of English found in America, every type of food, every type of music, are parts of American sub-culture...but there is no unifying factor in American culture. I love cajun food because of the spices, but most people in the Northeastern United States will hate it because it's too spicy (and apparently the only spice they're aware of in New England is ketchup). A meal in the midwest will gross out someone from the West Coast. The accents of someone from southwest Louisiana or northern Alabama are almost unrecognizable to someone from Boston or Maine.

It used to be said that there was an underlying ethos that united Americans, one of the first cultures built upon a unifying idea rather than language or any other cultural traits; but we don't even have that anymore.

If anything, there is no such thing as an American culture; just multiple cultures unified by a government. Thus, what many "foreigners" (such a subjective term!) fail to realize when they meet an American is they are not meeting someone who represents American culture, but only represents one of the cultures in the nation of the United States. Thus, the US appears confusing and contradictory to the rest of the world because we are a contradiction.

I couldn't have said it better. I cringe at the ketchup lovers. We have a friend who douses his pirohi! Yuck!
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« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2011, 05:37:11 PM »

I agree with everything you said except the idea that we do not have a 'meta-culture.'  I think we do, actually several.  The first is our political system at the national level, and the second is popular religion.  They do tend to be pervaded with similar notions no matter what region you are in.



I see the part of the 'pervasion of similar notions'  as the Protestant influenced 'exceptionalism'  theory that is floating around these days.
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« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2011, 05:53:59 PM »

There are defined cultures within the general culture of the USA. The NW people are a pretty distinct people in many ways. I visited TX once and didn't understand anything/anyone. In my area littering is akin to the murder of the earth. It is beautiful, green and lush here. TX had so much styrofoam (I understand why this is necessary, but it is a big shock) styrofoam is practically outlawed in my area. And there was a general lack of "respect for the environment" that is the norm in my area. Texans think the NW people are looney tree-huggers. Maybe we are, but that is how we were raised. That is just one example of a micro-cultural difference within the larger culture of the USA.

Then as an american indian I have to say there are BIG cultural differences. I can't even get into how there are micro-cultures within the various tribes.
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« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2011, 06:59:25 PM »

I agree with everything you said except the idea that we do not have a 'meta-culture.'  I think we do, actually several.  The first is our political system at the national level, and the second is popular religion.  They do tend to be pervaded with similar notions no matter what region you are in.
I see the part of the 'pervasion of similar notions'  as the Protestant influenced 'exceptionalism'  theory that is floating around these days.
Protestant influenced 'exceptionalism' is not a particularly new theory, nor is it necessarily American.  Winthrop's 1630 "City on a Hill" sermon is a wonderful example.  While it may have influenced later generations, it certainly did not come from a unified American 'ethos.'
'Exceptionalism' can be found in many societies outside of the U.S. and Protestant tradition; just ask a Persian, Turk, Greek, etc.

There are some great posts in this thread, and I think they speak to the complexity of the nation.  From ialmisry's notes on the various subcultures, to Father Giryus' narrative of the early colonists/immigrants, who through a combination of history and mythology distanced themselves from many external ethnic and cultural bonds, they highlight a somewhat unique national identity.

To the OP, I think this may be a part of why Americans seem so inexplicable.   
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« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2011, 10:19:07 PM »

I agree that 'American Exceptionalism' is neither American nor exceptional.  When I lived in Japan, I experienced Japanese Exceptionalism (usually called 'Dai Nippon').  Then we have all shared in hearing much about Hellenism and Greek Exceptionalism (anyone NOT seen 'My Big, Fat Greek Wedding?').  Then read Russian newspapers.  As for Native peoples, they generally don't use the tribal names we give them, but 'humans' (i.e. members of the tribe) and 'not humans' (i.e. members of other tribes).

What is interesting about the US is that there are no 'traditional enemies' per se.  Our nation, which split off from England, never held on to animosity for the UK.  There isn't the tension between the US and Canada (or Mexico for that matter) as there is between, let's say, Ukrainians and Russians or Greeks and Turks.  We fought two wars against Germany, but Germans are not a byword.

The roots of the modern exceptionalist concept in America is partly rooted in the idea that we are a 'melting pot' of other nationalities and that all are welcome.  The notion that being an immigrant somehow makes you less of an American than one born here is generally rejected.  Therefore, a Sikh with a star-spangled turban (I saw a lot of those in LA after 9-11) is a source of pride for many Americans.  We like it when others want to become Americans, and we also make it possible.  Such things are impossible in mono-ethnic nations like Greece or Japan.



I agree with everything you said except the idea that we do not have a 'meta-culture.'  I think we do, actually several.  The first is our political system at the national level, and the second is popular religion.  They do tend to be pervaded with similar notions no matter what region you are in.
I see the part of the 'pervasion of similar notions'  as the Protestant influenced 'exceptionalism'  theory that is floating around these days.
Protestant influenced 'exceptionalism' is not a particularly new theory, nor is it necessarily American.  Winthrop's 1630 "City on a Hill" sermon is a wonderful example.  While it may have influenced later generations, it certainly did not come from a unified American 'ethos.'
'Exceptionalism' can be found in many societies outside of the U.S. and Protestant tradition; just ask a Persian, Turk, Greek, etc.

There are some great posts in this thread, and I think they speak to the complexity of the nation.  From ialmisry's notes on the various subcultures, to Father Giryus' narrative of the early colonists/immigrants, who through a combination of history and mythology distanced themselves from many external ethnic and cultural bonds, they highlight a somewhat unique national identity.

To the OP, I think this may be a part of why Americans seem so inexplicable.   
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« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2011, 08:46:59 AM »


For instance, spend time in ... a small town in Missouri, ...


 Just spend some time in a small town in Northern Missouri then a small town in Southern Missouri and you'll think you're in a different state altogether.  Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2011, 08:51:13 AM »



Quote
And they are very friendly truly interested in people when you meet them.

This is mostly fake. Americans might chat with you, but they rarely intend true friendship.

 I'm sorry your kinfolks don't like outsiders, but I've brought home dark-skinned Indonesians to white Romanians - all of whom had thick accents and had "peculiar" ways about them (as my grandma would say).  Hell, we even hosted a Japanese student who didn't speak a lick of English.  Some of my kinfolks are knuckle-headed Klan (and they aren't welcome to family functions), but by-and-large, we've always tried to be outgoing and friendly towards "foreigners" (including all y'all Yankees!  Cheesy)  And you better believe when I say, "Stop by and say 'howdy'" I mean it.

 And another thing you said that strikes me as odd, especially for someone who counts himself as a world traveler;  there is no monolithic American culture or attitude anymore (if there ever was).  So to say "Americans might chat with you, but they rarely intend true friendship" is a damn fool thing to say and you oughtta know better, friend.   
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« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2011, 11:05:44 AM »

I actually find Americans to be quite friendly. My experience though is limited to urban America and the overwhelming majority of my American friends are also different sorts of leftists. I'm sure that skews my impressions a bit.
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« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2011, 11:30:48 AM »

I agree that 'American Exceptionalism' is neither American nor exceptional.  When I lived in Japan, I experienced Japanese Exceptionalism (usually called 'Dai Nippon').  Then we have all shared in hearing much about Hellenism and Greek Exceptionalism (anyone NOT seen 'My Big, Fat Greek Wedding?').  Then read Russian newspapers.  As for Native peoples, they generally don't use the tribal names we give them, but 'humans' (i.e. members of the tribe) and 'not humans' (i.e. members of other tribes).

What is interesting about the US is that there are no 'traditional enemies' per se.  Our nation, which split off from England, never held on to animosity for the UK.  There isn't the tension between the US and Canada (or Mexico for that matter) as there is between, let's say, Ukrainians and Russians or Greeks and Turks.  We fought two wars against Germany, but Germans are not a byword.

The roots of the modern exceptionalist concept in America is partly rooted in the idea that we are a 'melting pot' of other nationalities and that all are welcome.  The notion that being an immigrant somehow makes you less of an American than one born here is generally rejected.  Therefore, a Sikh with a star-spangled turban (I saw a lot of those in LA after 9-11) is a source of pride for many Americans.  We like it when others want to become Americans, and we also make it possible.  Such things are impossible in mono-ethnic nations like Greece or Japan.



I agree with everything you said except the idea that we do not have a 'meta-culture.'  I think we do, actually several.  The first is our political system at the national level, and the second is popular religion.  They do tend to be pervaded with similar notions no matter what region you are in.
I see the part of the 'pervasion of similar notions'  as the Protestant influenced 'exceptionalism'  theory that is floating around these days.
Protestant influenced 'exceptionalism' is not a particularly new theory, nor is it necessarily American.  Winthrop's 1630 "City on a Hill" sermon is a wonderful example.  While it may have influenced later generations, it certainly did not come from a unified American 'ethos.'
'Exceptionalism' can be found in many societies outside of the U.S. and Protestant tradition; just ask a Persian, Turk, Greek, etc.

There are some great posts in this thread, and I think they speak to the complexity of the nation.  From ialmisry's notes on the various subcultures, to Father Giryus' narrative of the early colonists/immigrants, who through a combination of history and mythology distanced themselves from many external ethnic and cultural bonds, they highlight a somewhat unique national identity.

To the OP, I think this may be a part of why Americans seem so inexplicable.  

I want to clarify my point regarding 'American Exceptionalism' as I was dancing around it for fear of intruding into the realm of politics. I am a strong believer in the 'exceptionalism' of my country as that term has been traditionally used and as I learned in the course of my higher education many years ago. Fr. Gyrus' summarizes my beliefs on the subject quite eloquently. Watching my grandfather, an immigrant from Austro-Hungary, tearfully raise the American flag on his flagpole in New Jersey each July 4th when I was a child brought the special nature of this country home to me better than any history book or politician could ever hope

I was alluding to the recent phenomena of one side of the American political divide co-opting the term for ideological advance in a manner that frightens me to some extent. This column is timely and speaks to my thoughts. http://www.nj.com/hudson/voices/index.ssf/2011/02/taking_exception_funt.html

I hope that Michal and others from outside of the US will understand us better by realizing that there is neither a 'monolithic' American culture nor a 'monolithic' American body-politic. We Americans tend to make the same mistake in viewing and judging our neighbors and even our allies overseas and all of us in the world are better off if we look behind the glass and learn more about each other. I will say no more on this, as I would no doubt violate Forum rules regarding political discussions.
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« Reply #34 on: February 19, 2011, 10:22:30 AM »


The gun issue is, in large part, due to systemic distrust of government.  After all, many of us here are the descendents of those who were persecuted by their home governments.  Guns make it awful difficult for the state to do 'what they did last time.'  Americans, traditionally speaking, don't like government or being governed, but they rebel mostly by voting wildly.


What Father said.
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« Reply #35 on: February 19, 2011, 12:44:52 PM »

I think one American phenomena that we can agree is truly inexplicable (or perhaps indescribable), is protestantism.  Wink
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« Reply #36 on: February 19, 2011, 12:49:18 PM »

I think one American phenomena that we can agree is truly inexplicable (or perhaps indescribable), is protestantism.  Wink

Huh

The Reformation began in 16th century Europe.
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« Reply #37 on: February 19, 2011, 12:58:59 PM »

I think one American phenomena that we can agree is truly inexplicable (or perhaps indescribable), is protestantism.  Wink

Huh

The Reformation began in 16th century Europe.

Yes, that is where it started, but it is thriving is in the U.S.
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« Reply #38 on: February 19, 2011, 01:36:10 PM »

I think one American phenomena that we can agree is truly inexplicable (or perhaps indescribable), is protestantism.  Wink

Huh

The Reformation began in 16th century Europe.

Yes, that is where it started, but it is thriving is in the U.S.

Depends on what you mean by thriving. The U.S. has more Protestants than any other country, but many countries have a higher percentage of Protestants.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism_by_country
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« Reply #39 on: February 19, 2011, 01:52:22 PM »

I think one American phenomena that we can agree is truly inexplicable (or perhaps indescribable), is protestantism.  Wink

Huh

The Reformation began in 16th century Europe.

Yes, that is where it started, but it is thriving is in the U.S.

Depends on what you mean by thriving. The U.S. has more Protestants than any other country, but many countries have a higher percentage of Protestants.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism_by_country

But they are not the real Protestants!
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« Reply #40 on: February 19, 2011, 02:06:26 PM »

One thing I don't undertand in Americans is their Patriotism. It seems so overwhelming that it gets corny. But then again that could be because Finns used to live next to the Soviet Union so Finnish political ethos became fairly leftist since nobody dared to be anything else in fear of insulting our beloved neighbour.
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« Reply #41 on: February 19, 2011, 04:48:11 PM »

I think one American phenomena that we can agree is truly inexplicable (or perhaps indescribable), is protestantism.  Wink

Huh

The Reformation began in 16th century Europe.

Yes, that is where it started, but it is thriving is in the U.S.

Depends on what you mean by thriving. The U.S. has more Protestants than any other country, but many countries have a higher percentage of Protestants.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism_by_country

Well, I think what  i was getting at more than anything is that protestantism in America is impossible to describe or classify because there are so many different competing branches of it that often preach contradictory things..
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« Reply #42 on: February 21, 2011, 11:27:48 AM »

One thing I don't undertand in Americans is their Patriotism. It seems so overwhelming that it gets corny. But then again that could be because Finns used to live next to the Soviet Union so Finnish political ethos became fairly leftist since nobody dared to be anything else in fear of insulting our beloved neighbour.
Are you just living in Finland or are you an ethnic Finn?  The reason I ask is because from my understanding of Scandinavian history, Finns and other Scandinavians have always been influenced by egalitarianism which is different from communism.
So what the Scandinavians call socialism is different from the dictatorship of communism.
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« Reply #43 on: February 21, 2011, 11:29:54 AM »

One thing I don't undertand in Americans is their Patriotism. It seems so overwhelming that it gets corny. But then again that could be because Finns used to live next to the Soviet Union so Finnish political ethos became fairly leftist since nobody dared to be anything else in fear of insulting our beloved neighbour.

No, you're not wrong. American patriotism is pretty dumb.
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« Reply #44 on: February 21, 2011, 11:38:36 AM »

There is an assumption in this thread that America has a unified culture that marks us as distinctly American. I would contend against this idea and say that even within America, we only have sub cultures without a meta-culture (though the sub-cultures are different from other world cultures, thus Americans as a whole appear different).

For instance, spend time in Dallas, TX, Abilene, TX, a small town in Missouri, a small town in Washington, Los Angeles, CA, and New York, New York and you will experience multiple cultures that are greatly distinct from each other.

For instance, name an American language, cuisine, music style, etc. Fact is, every dialect of English found in America, every type of food, every type of music, are parts of American sub-culture...but there is no unifying factor in American culture. I love cajun food because of the spices, but most people in the Northeastern United States will hate it because it's too spicy (and apparently the only spice they're aware of in New England is ketchup). A meal in the midwest will gross out someone from the West Coast. The accents of someone from southwest Louisiana or northern Alabama are almost unrecognizable to someone from Boston or Maine.

It used to be said that there was an underlying ethos that united Americans, one of the first cultures built upon a unifying idea rather than language or any other cultural traits; but we don't even have that anymore.

If anything, there is no such thing as an American culture; just multiple cultures unified by a government. Thus, what many "foreigners" (such a subjective term!) fail to realize when they meet an American is they are not meeting someone who represents American culture, but only represents one of the cultures in the nation of the United States. Thus, the US appears confusing and contradictory to the rest of the world because we are a contradiction.

America certainly isn't alone in this regard.  Go to England, a small island nation about the size of one of our medium-small states.  Someone from south England is going to have a very different dialect than someone from York and the foods and attitudes will be fairly distinct as well.

And actually, America can be fairly easily distinguished by a few cultures: rural and city and North and South.  American rural communities are virtually identical: you have the main road off the highway with whatever establishments the town has (homogenized even further by the invasion of corporate America into small communities, the family diners are giving way to McDonald's and Burger King) and two churches across the street from each other (whatever the two popular denominations are, up North it will be Lutheran and Catholic, down South Baptist and Methodist), and while the residents will be friendly enough you will always be an outsider if you weren't born there.  The cities will be identical as well, the main difference being architecture: you'll have the corrupt city government and affectations of being "cultured", the well-to-do and gentrifying areas and the ghettoes.  By and large the rural areas will be "conservative" and the urban areas will be "liberal".  North and South only really distinguish the rural communities, in the North there's likely to be a local bar or two, in the South you'll have to get to know the guy with the moonshine still.

The main exception is Florida, which is a backward and nonsensical state, where the further north you drive the more Southern you're getting and the further south you drive the more things will be Northern.
Really? Why don't you come visit New Mexico. It seems that no one really understands our strange mixture of liberalism, conservatism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Urban life, rural life, technology, art, poverty, money, American Patriotism, Mexican Nationalism, Spanish/New Mexican Culture, Native American Culture, Mexican Immigrant cutlure, White Culture, etc. etc. etc. all within a five mile radius. Trust me. WE are more complex than you think
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« Reply #45 on: February 21, 2011, 11:39:50 AM »

One thing I don't undertand in Americans is their Patriotism. It seems so overwhelming that it gets corny. But then again that could be because Finns used to live next to the Soviet Union so Finnish political ethos became fairly leftist since nobody dared to be anything else in fear of insulting our beloved neighbour.

No, you're not wrong. American patriotism is pretty dumb.
Yeah, you wouldn't want to love the country that has provided you with all the opportunities and freedoms that that the USA does.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #46 on: February 21, 2011, 11:42:16 AM »

One thing I don't undertand in Americans is their Patriotism. It seems so overwhelming that it gets corny. But then again that could be because Finns used to live next to the Soviet Union so Finnish political ethos became fairly leftist since nobody dared to be anything else in fear of insulting our beloved neighbour.

No, you're not wrong. American patriotism is pretty dumb.
Yeah, you wouldn't want to love the country that has provided you with all the opportunities and freedoms that that the USA does.  Roll Eyes


Exhibit A.
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« Reply #47 on: February 21, 2011, 11:43:56 AM »

On a personal note, My anscestors came here from Europe as Spanish colonials. They lived in this area of the country (what is now New Mexico) ever since it was part of Mexico. Looking at the relative state of Mexico vs. the United States, I am greatful to God that New Mexico was incoorperated into the Union. I do love my country, because of what it has provided for me  and I am greatful to God for his providence in allowing me to be part of such a free and prosperous nation.

And yes, even though I am both hispanic and a teacher, I am one of those evil gun tottin', God fearing, american loving conservatives. Smiley
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« Reply #48 on: February 21, 2011, 11:47:07 AM »

One thing I don't undertand in Americans is their Patriotism. It seems so overwhelming that it gets corny. But then again that could be because Finns used to live next to the Soviet Union so Finnish political ethos became fairly leftist since nobody dared to be anything else in fear of insulting our beloved neighbour.

No, you're not wrong. American patriotism is pretty dumb.
Yeah, you wouldn't want to love the country that has provided you with all the opportunities and freedoms that that the USA does.  Roll Eyes


Exhibit A.
most ridiculous post of the month nomination^
BTW, From the inside, all of those  outside of the USA who seem to hate American exceptionalism, appear to be suffering from little man syndrome.
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« Reply #49 on: February 21, 2011, 11:48:10 AM »


For you Iconodule.
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« Reply #50 on: February 21, 2011, 12:00:24 PM »

Are you just living in Finland or are you an ethnic Finn?  The reason I ask is because from my understanding of Scandinavian history, Finns and other Scandinavians have always been influenced by egalitarianism which is different from communism.
So what the Scandinavians call socialism is different from the dictatorship of communism.

I don't know whether there is such thing as ethnic Finn since Finland is not an ethnic concept... but yes, I am an ethnic Finn if that mean's that I'm not an immigrant.

And you're are indeed correct that Finland's version of leftism is very different from Communism. But still Finland was politically hyper-correct in relation with the Soviet Union back in the days.
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« Reply #51 on: February 21, 2011, 12:05:09 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.
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« Reply #52 on: February 21, 2011, 12:11:34 PM »

One thing I don't undertand in Americans is their Patriotism. It seems so overwhelming that it gets corny. But then again that could be because Finns used to live next to the Soviet Union so Finnish political ethos became fairly leftist since nobody dared to be anything else in fear of insulting our beloved neighbour.

No, you're not wrong. American patriotism is pretty dumb.
Yeah, you wouldn't want to love the country that has provided you with all the opportunities and freedoms that that the USA does.  Roll Eyes


Exhibit A.


When you're referring to American Patroitism what are you referring to? Are you referring to our loyalty to the country, the flag, or the idea, or to something else?

-Nick
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« Reply #53 on: February 21, 2011, 12:24:46 PM »

One thing I don't undertand in Americans is their Patriotism. It seems so overwhelming that it gets corny. But then again that could be because Finns used to live next to the Soviet Union so Finnish political ethos became fairly leftist since nobody dared to be anything else in fear of insulting our beloved neighbour.

No, you're not wrong. American patriotism is pretty dumb.
Yeah, you wouldn't want to love the country that has provided you with all the opportunities and freedoms that that the USA does.  Roll Eyes


Exhibit A.


When you're referring to American Patroitism what are you referring to? Are you referring to our loyalty to the country, the flag, or the idea, or to something else?

-Nick

Some of the odious facets that spring to mind:

- American exceptionalism, the idea that America is specially blessed by God above all other nations, with a special mission, or the idea that creativity, innovation, hard work, ruggedness, etc. are somehow uniquely American values, or that America is somehow the "best" country in the world.

- Dogmatic devotion to capitalism and American democratic ideology; veneration of the Founding Fathers; support for American imperial policies; treating the slavery and genocide of the past as if it were just an unfortunate bump on the road which we no longer need to worry about.

- "America: Love it or leave it"- the idea that questioning the basic ideology of America, or throwing a critical light on the sources of its prosperity, or critiquing its foreign policy, or otherwise refusing to join in triumphalistic flag-waving constitute disloyal and "Anti-American" behavior and a lack of appreciation for the advantages offered by living here.
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« Reply #54 on: February 21, 2011, 12:44:44 PM »

One thing I don't undertand in Americans is their Patriotism. It seems so overwhelming that it gets corny. But then again that could be because Finns used to live next to the Soviet Union so Finnish political ethos became fairly leftist since nobody dared to be anything else in fear of insulting our beloved neighbour.

No, you're not wrong. American patriotism is pretty dumb.
Yeah, you wouldn't want to love the country that has provided you with all the opportunities and freedoms that that the USA does.  Roll Eyes


Exhibit A.


When you're referring to American Patroitism what are you referring to? Are you referring to our loyalty to the country, the flag, or the idea, or to something else?

-Nick

Some of the odious facets that spring to mind:

- American exceptionalism, the idea that America is specially blessed by God above all other nations, with a special mission, or the idea that creativity, innovation, hard work, ruggedness, etc. are somehow uniquely American values, or that America is somehow the "best" country in the world.
That is not what American exceptionalism means. What it does mean is that, when looking at the empirical evidence, we have one of the freest nations on earth, and that such freedom has, in fact, produced a great deal of creativity and innovation, leading to a very prosperous nation.

- Dogmatic devotion to capitalism and American democratic ideology;
Our particular version of Capitalism (no the version supported by Obama) allows for greater freedom, more wealth for more people, and creative innovation.

veneration of the Founding Fathers;
In many ways, the Founding Fathers were brilliant men. We don't have to agree with everything that they said or did in order to recognize this.
support for American imperial policies;
I don't think that most Americans support this. In fact, I think many Americans would agree with Chesterton:
"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

Most Americans who are very patriotic also tend to be very conservative. This does not mean that patriotism and support of every international action of our country go hand in hand, because patriotism and agreement with the government's action are not the same thing. This can be seen in the fact that conservative Patriots disagree vehemently with the nation's policy on abortion. I think you need to understand that, for Americans, patriotism and love for the government and it's decisions are not the same thing.

treating the slavery and genocide of the past as if it were just an unfortunate bump on the road which we no longer need to worry about.
Bologna. We spend tons of time studying the negative aspects of our past. We are constantly reminded of our failure in the realm of slavery and we highly venerate those exceptional Americans who worked towards its end. Why do you think that so many American Historians regard Abraham Lincoln as the greatest president of all time? But what we also recognize is that the founding philosophies of our country, "That all men are created equal" led to the end of slavery in our country. Thanks be to God.

- "America: Love it or leave it"- the idea that questioning the basic ideology of America, or throwing a critical light on the sources of its prosperity, or critiquing its foreign policy, or otherwise refusing to join in triumphalistic flag-waving constitute disloyal and "Anti-American" behavior and a lack of appreciation for the advantages offered by living here.

Again, I remind you of Cherston's statement. We love our country, even when it's wrong, and we need to behave as such. Part of our Patriotism is criticizing our government when it is wrong. Most Americans are now against the war in Iraq. Most Americans oppose our abortion policy. Loving the country is not the same as loving the government.
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« Reply #55 on: February 21, 2011, 01:03:16 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.
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« Reply #56 on: February 21, 2011, 01:07:34 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.
I agree with the concept that it is more than accident of birth, just as love for parents is more than the accident of birth. I love my parents becasue they begat me, but I also love them because the raised me, provided for me, taught me the truth of Christianity, etc. I love my homeland because it has formed me in many positive ways, provided for me, protected my God given freedoms, etc. I would say my identification of my homeland is more than my birth here, but not less than it.
I understand that the situation for an immigrant would be different. It would be more like choosing a spouse, which is also a beautiful analogoy.
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« Reply #57 on: February 21, 2011, 01:20:07 PM »

- American exceptionalism, the idea that America is specially blessed by God above all other nations, with a special mission, or the idea that creativity, innovation, hard work, ruggedness, etc. are somehow uniquely American values, or that America is somehow the "best" country in the world.
That is not what American exceptionalism means. What it does mean is that, when looking at the empirical evidence, we have one of the freest nations on earth, and that such freedom has, in fact, produced a great deal of creativity and innovation, leading to a very prosperous nation. [/quote]

No, American exceptionalism does not mean "we are one of the freest nations on earth." That doesn't make us exceptional. It also doesn't mean we are a "very prosperous nation." There are other very prosperous nations. American exceptionalism means we are exceptional. Hence the word "exceptionalism."

Quote
Our particular version of Capitalism (no the version supported by Obama) allows for greater freedom, more wealth for more people, and creative innovation.

Your neocon capitalism and Obama's capitalism with a human face are two sides of the same coin.

Quote
support for American imperial policies;
I don't think that most Americans support this.

I remember the run-up to the Iraq war quite clearly. Do most Americans support imperialism? I don't know, but the loudest ones certainly do. I overheard, the other day, a news anchor saying (about the mid-east revolts) "We all love democracy, but is this in America's interest?"

Quote
I think you need to understand that, for Americans, patriotism and love for the government and it's decisions are not the same thing.

I think you need to understand that I am an American too, I live with Americans, I spend most of my time around Americans, and so I know first hand how ridiculous it is to claim that "Americans believe (blank)" as if we are a homogenous monolithic society.  
Quote
Bologna. We spend tons of time studying the negative aspects of our past.

And yet so little time considering the effects it continues to have today in our society.

Quote
But what we also recognize is that the founding philosophies of our country, "That all men are created equal" led to the end of slavery in our country. Thanks be to God.

One could just as well say that the ideology of "states' rights" preserved slavery to the bitter end. Many today continue to justify the Confederate cause as a fight for "states' rights" in which slavery was a peripheral issue.

It took more than fine words to abolish slavery, but John Brown is still vilified in many places.

Quote
Again, I remind you of Cherston's statement. We love our country, even when it's wrong, and we need to behave as such. Part of our Patriotism is criticizing our government when it is wrong.

Criticizing a particular configuration of that government is one thing; criticizing the underlying ideology a wholly different matter.

Quote
Most Americans are now against the war in Iraq.

Usually for the wrong reasons.

Quote
Loving the country is not the same as loving the government.

I love many people in this country. I love many cultural elements that have arisen here. I love its wealth of natural beauty. On the other hand, I hate its capitalism, its general foreign policy, and its prevailing popular culture. On the matter of democracy I am ambivalent. I don't hold to it as an absolute principle or as the best possible government. Am I a patriot to you?
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« Reply #58 on: February 21, 2011, 01:24:05 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.
I agree with the concept that it is more than accident of birth, just as love for parents is more than the accident of birth. I love my parents becasue they begat me, but I also love them because the raised me, provided for me, taught me the truth of Christianity, etc. I love my homeland because it has formed me in many positive ways, provided for me, protected my God given freedoms, etc. I would say my identification of my homeland is more than my birth here, but not less than it.
I understand that the situation for an immigrant would be different. It would be more like choosing a spouse, which is also a beautiful analogoy.
I'm sure America looks at it that way. What of the abandoned homeland?

I remember when I was in HS American History: dealing with the American-Mexican War, the teacher keep correcting a group of students when they said "we" when they meant the Mexicans, and the students, who were Mexican Americans, replied "which side do you think our ancestors fought on? I've seen similar exchanges over the War between the States with Southerners.

So, were the students treasonous and ungrateful?
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« Reply #59 on: February 21, 2011, 01:30:25 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.
I agree with the concept that it is more than accident of birth, just as love for parents is more than the accident of birth. I love my parents becasue they begat me, but I also love them because the raised me, provided for me, taught me the truth of Christianity, etc. I love my homeland because it has formed me in many positive ways, provided for me, protected my God given freedoms, etc. I would say my identification of my homeland is more than my birth here, but not less than it.
I understand that the situation for an immigrant would be different. It would be more like choosing a spouse, which is also a beautiful analogoy.
I'm sure America looks at it that way. What of the abandoned homeland?

I remember when I was in HS American History: dealing with the American-Mexican War, the teacher keep correcting a group of students when they said "we" when they meant the Mexicans, and the students, who were Mexican Americans, replied "which side do you think our ancestors fought on? I've seen similar exchanges over the War between the States with Southerners.

So, were the students treasonous and ungrateful?
To some degree I think so. My ancestors were on the Mexican side too. But this is the land that has formed me. The United States is where i live.
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« Reply #60 on: February 21, 2011, 01:44:57 PM »

Gun Control = Holding your hands steady

Our Freedom is with an asterisk. If you are a serious threat to the Government or one of it's central policies, like a War, you are not so free.

When I was an activist, we were followed, our offices were constantly being burglarized by the FBI and files taken. Have you ever been burglerized by the Police? Who do you call to report it?

People had their reputations smeared by the FBI with false accusations sent to employers. Phones were tapped and roommates and fellow organizers often turned out to be paid Government informers.

We simply ran our candidates. If we had a position to express publicly we would rent a hall and hold a public Forum or participate in a Peaceful and Legal Demonstration. We sold our Newspaper and participated in our Unions. We never took drugs or did anything the slightest bit illegal because we knew were were being watched.  Yet we were targeted by the Government for destruction...
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« Reply #61 on: February 21, 2011, 01:46:57 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
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« Reply #62 on: February 21, 2011, 02:00:51 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.
I agree with the concept that it is more than accident of birth, just as love for parents is more than the accident of birth. I love my parents becasue they begat me, but I also love them because the raised me, provided for me, taught me the truth of Christianity, etc. I love my homeland because it has formed me in many positive ways, provided for me, protected my God given freedoms, etc. I would say my identification of my homeland is more than my birth here, but not less than it.
I understand that the situation for an immigrant would be different. It would be more like choosing a spouse, which is also a beautiful analogoy.
I'm sure America looks at it that way. What of the abandoned homeland?

I remember when I was in HS American History: dealing with the American-Mexican War, the teacher keep correcting a group of students when they said "we" when they meant the Mexicans, and the students, who were Mexican Americans, replied "which side do you think our ancestors fought on? I've seen similar exchanges over the War between the States with Southerners.

So, were the students treasonous and ungrateful?
To some degree I think so. My ancestors were on the Mexican side too. But this is the land that has formed me. The United States is where i live.
It is also where they lived. Does it make a difference that they lived in Chicago and not the Southwest?
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« Reply #63 on: February 21, 2011, 02:01:06 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
I wonder what he means by existentialism. Does he mean that we learn the truth by experiencing and living it, or, does he mean what sartre taught, that we have no termined "natures" or "essences" are we simply are whatever we decide to be?
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« Reply #64 on: February 21, 2011, 02:02:26 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
Dostoyevski, Kirkegaard. Sartre, perhaps not so much.
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« Reply #65 on: February 21, 2011, 02:03:22 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.
I agree with the concept that it is more than accident of birth, just as love for parents is more than the accident of birth. I love my parents becasue they begat me, but I also love them because the raised me, provided for me, taught me the truth of Christianity, etc. I love my homeland because it has formed me in many positive ways, provided for me, protected my God given freedoms, etc. I would say my identification of my homeland is more than my birth here, but not less than it.
I understand that the situation for an immigrant would be different. It would be more like choosing a spouse, which is also a beautiful analogoy.
I'm sure America looks at it that way. What of the abandoned homeland?

I remember when I was in HS American History: dealing with the American-Mexican War, the teacher keep correcting a group of students when they said "we" when they meant the Mexicans, and the students, who were Mexican Americans, replied "which side do you think our ancestors fought on? I've seen similar exchanges over the War between the States with Southerners.

So, were the students treasonous and ungrateful?
To some degree I think so. My ancestors were on the Mexican side too. But this is the land that has formed me. The United States is where i live.
It is also where they lived. Does it make a difference that they lived in Chicago and not the Southwest?
Perhaps. I don't really know. I have never been to chicago, but I do know some hispanics here in New Mexico who agree with their (the hispanics that you meantioned) position. Perhaps I and my family are just a bunch of oddball Hispanic-American Conservatives. But I think it has to do with the following perception: Some hispanics see America as a "gringo" country. I see it as a melting pot.
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« Reply #66 on: February 21, 2011, 02:04:00 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
Dostoyevski, Kirkegaard. Sartre, perhaps not so much.
So, you are of the brand of existentialism that proposes that we know truth by experiencing it? Sorry to bother you with this request for clarification. It's just that the term "existentialism" has become so broad that it can mean many things to different people.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 02:04:59 PM by Papist » Logged

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« Reply #67 on: February 21, 2011, 02:04:44 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
I wonder what he means by existentialism. Does he mean that we learn the truth by experiencing and living it, or, does he mean what sartre taught, that we have no termined "natures" or "essences" are we simply are whatever we decide to be?
All of the above: existence preceedes essence.
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #68 on: February 21, 2011, 02:05:18 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
I wonder what he means by existentialism. Does he mean that we learn the truth by experiencing and living it, or, does he mean what sartre taught, that we have no termined "natures" or "essences" are we simply are whatever we decide to be?
All of the above: existence preceedes essence.
I see. So you don't believe in a real "human nature"?
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« Reply #69 on: February 21, 2011, 02:08:34 PM »

I think that people refuse to look at America as a vast contradiction; instead, they attempt to approach it from a black and white perspective, meaning they will view America as generally good with bouts of evil, or completely evil with accidental acts of good.

It's both/and. The American form of Capitalism since the 1880's ("Industrial Capitalism") has been extremely evil and oppressive. But it's difference in socialism is simply that a few hundred people control the nation's wealth rather than a few dozen. In short, they're the same thing.

Of course, at the same time, this same form of Capitalism has allowed a multitude of immigrants to come over from countries that had nothing and turn around and make something of themselves. Perhaps not for themselves, but for their children or their children's children. So is the American form of Capitalism evil? Yes, it is. But is it better than other systems of economics that aren't conducive to immigrants? Absolutely.

We look to slavery and see how horrendous it was and how many fought to defend it. But we also see that many gave their lives to eradicate it. The same nation that oppressed our black populace and other minorities is the same nation that allowed Dr. Martin Luther King to rise up; the same nation that shot him is the same nation that venerates him. We committed genocide against the Native Americans, but give their ancestors free college education as a realization that we were wrong (though we could do much better).

We have never been a nation that liked the idea of war. Even in our revolution there were those opposed to going to war. Since WWII we have been involved in what could be considered "empire building" and acting like the world's police, a role that the US isn't fit for and that the world doesn't want. At the same time, our soldiers have stepped foot on more countries in order to aid them in a time of crisis rather than to invade them to replace a despotic leader. The war in Iraq was an unjust war (by the Scholastic standards of a just war), but justice is coming out of it.

We're a nation that has produced the Klan, black supremacy groups, and even Latino supremacy groups, but we also have some of the highest rates of mixed-race couples in the world. We're a nation that won't pay for the healthcare of our poorest citizens, but a nation where our poorest citizens are better off than 99% of the world.

If you focus on just the good in America, or just the bad in America, you get an incomplete and woeful picture. If you focus on the good then you view America as divinely guided by God, a bright light in a dark and bleak world. If you focus on the bad, then you view America as evil and a problem for the world. The fact is, neither view is accurate. America is a contradiction, it is both good and bad, both a problem and a solution.
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« Reply #70 on: February 21, 2011, 02:10:12 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
I wonder what he means by existentialism. Does he mean that we learn the truth by experiencing and living it, or, does he mean what sartre taught, that we have no termined "natures" or "essences" are we simply are whatever we decide to be?
All of the above: existence preceedes essence.

So then the Incarnation is impossible (the idea of the Incarnation is based solely on the idea that essence precedes existence). You would also have to deny that God created us. In fact, you'd have to deny everything the early Church taught (and teaches) concerning humanity.
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“Wherefore, then, death approaches, gulps down the bait of the body, and is pierced by the hook of the divinity. Then, having tasted of the sinless and life-giving body, it is destroyed and gives up all those whom it had swallowed down of old." - St. John of Damascus
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« Reply #71 on: February 21, 2011, 02:15:06 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
I wonder what he means by existentialism. Does he mean that we learn the truth by experiencing and living it, or, does he mean what sartre taught, that we have no termined "natures" or "essences" are we simply are whatever we decide to be?
All of the above: existence preceedes essence.

So then the Incarnation is impossible (the idea of the Incarnation is based solely on the idea that essence precedes existence). You would also have to deny that God created us. In fact, you'd have to deny everything the early Church taught (and teaches) concerning humanity.
That's exactly where I was going with this. I would also add that existentialism is self refuting. What they propse about human beings, they propose to be ture of human beings. But that assumes that the term "human being" is meaningful, otherwise one could not talk about it, and thus, they implicitly accept the reality of a human nature while denying it.
What is more, existentialists define human beings as those beings that can determine themselves. But that is an essentialist description. What it all boils down to is that the nomimalism that underlies most existentialism is really self refuting.
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« Reply #72 on: February 21, 2011, 02:16:15 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
I wonder what he means by existentialism. Does he mean that we learn the truth by experiencing and living it, or, does he mean what sartre taught, that we have no termined "natures" or "essences" are we simply are whatever we decide to be?
All of the above: existence preceedes essence.
I see. So you don't believe in a real "human nature"?
Individual human beings exist.  Human nature exists only in them, and they determnine their own destiny-that's the Image and Likeness of God which seperates them from the animals.

That runs head on on natural law and other such nonsense, but that's how it is. It also contradicts even the likes of St. Maximus, who in this area errored-man and woman are not reduceable into a "human nature."
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« Reply #73 on: February 21, 2011, 02:27:14 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
I wonder what he means by existentialism. Does he mean that we learn the truth by experiencing and living it, or, does he mean what sartre taught, that we have no termined "natures" or "essences" are we simply are whatever we decide to be?
All of the above: existence preceedes essence.

So then the Incarnation is impossible (the idea of the Incarnation is based solely on the idea that essence precedes existence).
No, the Person of Christ preceeded the existence of the man Christ. In fact, the Incarnation cannot work in any other way. Christ could not "advance in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men" (Lk. 2:52. Btw, I just noticed that a comparison of this and Lk. 2:40 nullifies the attempt to use Lk. 1:28 as prooftext for the IC) if His essence preceeded His existence.

Quote
You would also have to deny that God created us.


You're going to have to thresh that out a bit before I can answer it.

Quote
In fact, you'd have to deny everything the early Church taught (and teaches) concerning humanity.
Can you give specifics?
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« Reply #74 on: February 21, 2011, 02:30:23 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
I wonder what he means by existentialism. Does he mean that we learn the truth by experiencing and living it, or, does he mean what sartre taught, that we have no termined "natures" or "essences" are we simply are whatever we decide to be?
All of the above: existence preceedes essence.

So then the Incarnation is impossible (the idea of the Incarnation is based solely on the idea that essence precedes existence). You would also have to deny that God created us. In fact, you'd have to deny everything the early Church taught (and teaches) concerning humanity.
That's exactly where I was going with this. I would also add that existentialism is self refuting. What they propse about human beings, they propose to be ture of human beings. But that assumes that the term "human being" is meaningful, otherwise one could not talk about it, and thus, they implicitly accept the reality of a human nature while denying it.
What is more, existentialists define human beings as those beings that can determine themselves. But that is an essentialist description. What it all boils down to is that the nomimalism that underlies most existentialism is really self refuting.
So the Platonists tell themselves. But following Plato earned Origen an anathema.
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A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #75 on: February 21, 2011, 02:31:59 PM »

Individual human beings exist.  Human nature exists only in them,
Actually, Thomists and Aristotleans would agree with you on this point. The universa natures do exists, but they only in exist in particulars, in individuals. It's called moderate realism.

and they determnine their own destiny
You are going to have to clarify what you mean here. Do you mean that we decide what our own end is? If that is the case, then you are not in agreement with Christianity which teaches that God is our end. Do you mean that we can decide whether or not to pursue that end or another in it's place? If that is what you are saying, then you are not in disagreement with Aristotleans.
that's the Image and Likeness of God which seperates them from the animals
God is good, and never chooses evil. If we are to live out our "image and likeness of God" then we need to choose the same. We are like God because we have a will and an intellect capable of knowing and doing good. To go against this is to go agianst our end. We can do this, but then we are not living in accord with our nature or essence. Do you think that human beings were made to do evil?

That runs head on on natural law and other such nonsense, but that's how it is. It also contradicts even the likes of St. Maximus, who in this area errored-man and woman are not reduceable into a "human nature."
Actually, not really. The few times I have seen you disccuss Natural Law, you have made it evidently clear that you don't know what natural law is. It merely means that we shoulde choose to live in accord with what we are made for but we are free to not do so. The logical conclusion of creation is that we have natures. And we have those natures, we should live in accord with them. BTW, natural is not the "law of the jungle" as you and Fr. Ambrose seemed to think in our last discussion on the matter.
Also, I agree that human beings are more than their nature. BUT, they are not less.
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« Reply #76 on: February 21, 2011, 02:32:27 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
I wonder what he means by existentialism. Does he mean that we learn the truth by experiencing and living it, or, does he mean what sartre taught, that we have no termined "natures" or "essences" are we simply are whatever we decide to be?
All of the above: existence preceedes essence.

So then the Incarnation is impossible (the idea of the Incarnation is based solely on the idea that essence precedes existence). You would also have to deny that God created us. In fact, you'd have to deny everything the early Church taught (and teaches) concerning humanity.
That's exactly where I was going with this. I would also add that existentialism is self refuting. What they propse about human beings, they propose to be ture of human beings. But that assumes that the term "human being" is meaningful, otherwise one could not talk about it, and thus, they implicitly accept the reality of a human nature while denying it.
What is more, existentialists define human beings as those beings that can determine themselves. But that is an essentialist description. What it all boils down to is that the nomimalism that underlies most existentialism is really self refuting.
So the Platonists tell themselves. But following Plato earned Origen an anathema.
I am not a Platonist. I am an Aristotlean.
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« Reply #77 on: February 21, 2011, 03:13:41 PM »

There is an assumption in this thread that America has a unified culture that marks us as distinctly American. I would contend against this idea and say that even within America, we only have sub cultures without a meta-culture (though the sub-cultures are different from other world cultures, thus Americans as a whole appear different).

For instance, spend time in Dallas, TX, Abilene, TX, a small town in Missouri, a small town in Washington, Los Angeles, CA, and New York, New York and you will experience multiple cultures that are greatly distinct from each other.

For instance, name an American language, cuisine, music style, etc. Fact is, every dialect of English found in America, every type of food, every type of music, are parts of American sub-culture...but there is no unifying factor in American culture. I love cajun food because of the spices, but most people in the Northeastern United States will hate it because it's too spicy (and apparently the only spice they're aware of in New England is ketchup). A meal in the midwest will gross out someone from the West Coast. The accents of someone from southwest Louisiana or northern Alabama are almost unrecognizable to someone from Boston or Maine.

It used to be said that there was an underlying ethos that united Americans, one of the first cultures built upon a unifying idea rather than language or any other cultural traits; but we don't even have that anymore.

If anything, there is no such thing as an American culture; just multiple cultures unified by a government. Thus, what many "foreigners" (such a subjective term!) fail to realize when they meet an American is they are not meeting someone who represents American culture, but only represents one of the cultures in the nation of the United States. Thus, the US appears confusing and contradictory to the rest of the world because we are a contradiction.

America certainly isn't alone in this regard.  Go to England, a small island nation about the size of one of our medium-small states.  Someone from south England is going to have a very different dialect than someone from York and the foods and attitudes will be fairly distinct as well.

And actually, America can be fairly easily distinguished by a few cultures: rural and city and North and South.  American rural communities are virtually identical: you have the main road off the highway with whatever establishments the town has (homogenized even further by the invasion of corporate America into small communities, the family diners are giving way to McDonald's and Burger King) and two churches across the street from each other (whatever the two popular denominations are, up North it will be Lutheran and Catholic, down South Baptist and Methodist), and while the residents will be friendly enough you will always be an outsider if you weren't born there.  The cities will be identical as well, the main difference being architecture: you'll have the corrupt city government and affectations of being "cultured", the well-to-do and gentrifying areas and the ghettoes.  By and large the rural areas will be "conservative" and the urban areas will be "liberal".  North and South only really distinguish the rural communities, in the North there's likely to be a local bar or two, in the South you'll have to get to know the guy with the moonshine still.

The main exception is Florida, which is a backward and nonsensical state, where the further north you drive the more Southern you're getting and the further south you drive the more things will be Northern.
Really? Why don't you come visit New Mexico. It seems that no one really understands our strange mixture of liberalism, conservatism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Urban life, rural life, technology, art, poverty, money, American Patriotism, Mexican Nationalism, Spanish/New Mexican Culture, Native American Culture, Mexican Immigrant cutlure, White Culture, etc. etc. etc. all within a five mile radius. Trust me. WE are more complex than you think

Not too much more complex, basically the addition of East and West to the categories.  But I've found the East-West dichotomy to be nowhere near as strong as the North-South dichotomy.  The main thing with the West is that the more conservative South is informed by Catholicism over Protestantism, while the more liberal North is informed by Protestantism over Catholicism.  Everything else you've mentioned is found equally elsewhere (with the exception of Mexican Nationalism, in the East it is more likely to be Cuban or even Puerto Rican). 

New Mexico does, however, have more reservations than elsewhere (though the largest spreads between NM and AZ) which will contribute to a perceived complexity.  This is to be expected: A reservation is, in theory at least, a completely different nation altogether.

Of course, the West has it's own version of the backward state of Florida in California, where the further south you travel the more "Northern" the flavor, while North Cali is the bastion of Conservatism.

On a side note, I was really impressed with New Mexico when I traveled through there many years ago, not due to the specialty of the culture but rather the landscape.  Beautiful land formations, like nowhere else on earth.

I think that people refuse to look at America as a vast contradiction; instead, they attempt to approach it from a black and white perspective, meaning they will view America as generally good with bouts of evil, or completely evil with accidental acts of good.

It's both/and....

I've always viewed America as having it's own version of the Llogress/England duality CS Lewis mentions in That Hideous Strength.  Basically you have a conflict between the "mythic" idealized version of the nation and the cold hard materialistic "reality" on the ground.  The ideals of America are indeed a great thing, but it's these high ideals that make the country seem so depraved when she fails to live up to them.  It is important, of course, to be aware of the failings, but not so much so that you forget to strive for the heights.
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« Reply #78 on: February 21, 2011, 03:25:01 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
I wonder what he means by existentialism. Does he mean that we learn the truth by experiencing and living it, or, does he mean what sartre taught, that we have no termined "natures" or "essences" are we simply are whatever we decide to be?
All of the above: existence preceedes essence.

So then the Incarnation is impossible (the idea of the Incarnation is based solely on the idea that essence precedes existence). You would also have to deny that God created us. In fact, you'd have to deny everything the early Church taught (and teaches) concerning humanity.
That's exactly where I was going with this. I would also add that existentialism is self refuting. What they propse about human beings, they propose to be ture of human beings. But that assumes that the term "human being" is meaningful, otherwise one could not talk about it, and thus, they implicitly accept the reality of a human nature while denying it.
What is more, existentialists define human beings as those beings that can determine themselves. But that is an essentialist description. What it all boils down to is that the nomimalism that underlies most existentialism is really self refuting.
So the Platonists tell themselves. But following Plato earned Origen an anathema.
I am not a Platonist. I am an Aristotlean.
Given the choice between the two, so am I, so I guess no distinction there.

Yesterday this came up in our priest's talk on the Infant Jesus and Divine Omniscience.  He was saying that the Infant Jesus, due to the Incarnation, didn't know anything.  He admitted that that presupposed an Aristotelean idea of the acquisition of knowledge, rather than Platonism, in which knowledge is already ingrained. This, on the heels of a conversation I had with parisioners who teach philosophy and patristics, where I brought up that it seems philosophical schools bear more resemblance to religions than to, say, the branchs of mathmatics. It seems the philosophical schools do more than supply methodologies: they supply (or impose) some of the answers as well.

Take what we propose for human beings we found true of human beings, and assumes only human beings. It does not assume an abstract "humanity": Christ died for individual human beings, not for "humanity."  Humanity/human nature, for instance, would need a race of hermaphrodites, as both men and women are human beings, and yet not reduceable to a common core.

And no, it is not an essentialist definition, as angels also can and do determine their destinies, as does God. But humans are neither angels nor God. Nominalism is vindicated.
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« Reply #79 on: February 21, 2011, 03:35:28 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
I wonder what he means by existentialism. Does he mean that we learn the truth by experiencing and living it, or, does he mean what sartre taught, that we have no termined "natures" or "essences" are we simply are whatever we decide to be?
All of the above: existence preceedes essence.

So then the Incarnation is impossible (the idea of the Incarnation is based solely on the idea that essence precedes existence). You would also have to deny that God created us. In fact, you'd have to deny everything the early Church taught (and teaches) concerning humanity.
That's exactly where I was going with this. I would also add that existentialism is self refuting. What they propse about human beings, they propose to be ture of human beings. But that assumes that the term "human being" is meaningful, otherwise one could not talk about it, and thus, they implicitly accept the reality of a human nature while denying it.
What is more, existentialists define human beings as those beings that can determine themselves. But that is an essentialist description. What it all boils down to is that the nomimalism that underlies most existentialism is really self refuting.
So the Platonists tell themselves. But following Plato earned Origen an anathema.
I am not a Platonist. I am an Aristotlean.
Given the choice between the two, so am I, so I guess no distinction there.

Yesterday this came up in our priest's talk on the Infant Jesus and Divine Omniscience.  He was saying that the Infant Jesus, due to the Incarnation, didn't know anything.  He admitted that that presupposed an Aristotelean idea of the acquisition of knowledge, rather than Platonism, in which knowledge is already ingrained. This, on the heels of a conversation I had with parisioners who teach philosophy and patristics, where I brought up that it seems philosophical schools bear more resemblance to religions than to, say, the branchs of mathmatics. It seems the philosophical schools do more than supply methodologies: they supply (or impose) some of the answers as well.

Take what we propose for human beings we found true of human beings, and assumes only human beings. It does not assume an abstract "humanity"
Your entire conversation assumes an abstract "humanity", otherwise what you are saying would be meaningless.

: Christ died for individual human beings, not for "humanity."
But, in order to do so he assumity what is common to all of us:"he was like us in all things except sin."

 Humanity/human nature, for instance, would need a race of hermaphrodites, as both men and women are human beings, and yet not reduceable to a common core.
Not at all. The one human nature can have more than one mode of existence. It is not essential to human nature to be male. It is not essential to human nature to be female. It essential to human nature to have a gender, either male or female. Do you understand the difference?

And no, it is not an essentialist definition, as angels also can and do determine their destinies, as does God. But humans are neither angels nor God. Nominalism is vindicated.
First, the fact that we can choose our ends only demonstrates that we all having something in common: Free will, which demonstrates a common nature. Again, you are an essentialist.  Second, the fact that we can choose against our intended end (doesn't God have a particular end for us?) does not demonstrate that we shouldn't choose the proper end. Thus you have done nothing to bolster the position of nominalism. Of course, it's impossible to logically defend a self refuting philosophies but you sure are trying.

BTW, as long as you admit that we have a common nature, even if it's found in particular persons, you are not really a nominalist, but a realist.
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« Reply #80 on: February 21, 2011, 04:48:26 PM »

Americans are generally good people with a corporatist government that is controlled by bankers who profit from war that does a heck of a job convincing the American people that they actually have a say in anything.  So it is a huge contradiction if you try to look at the people and the government as the same entity.  But therein lies the power of the ruse. 
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« Reply #81 on: February 21, 2011, 04:50:41 PM »

I am not a Platonist. I am an Aristotlean.
Given the choice between the two, so am I, so I guess no distinction there.

Yesterday this came up in our priest's talk on the Infant Jesus and Divine Omniscience.  He was saying that the Infant Jesus, due to the Incarnation, didn't know anything.  He admitted that that presupposed an Aristotelean idea of the acquisition of knowledge, rather than Platonism, in which knowledge is already ingrained. This, on the heels of a conversation I had with parisioners who teach philosophy and patristics, where I brought up that it seems philosophical schools bear more resemblance to religions than to, say, the branchs of mathmatics. It seems the philosophical schools do more than supply methodologies: they supply (or impose) some of the answers as well.

Take what we propose for human beings we found true of human beings, and assumes only human beings. It does not assume an abstract "humanity"
Your entire conversation assumes an abstract "humanity", otherwise what you are saying would be meaningless.
Not at all.  I can talk of languages, although no language in the abstract exists.

: Christ died for individual human beings, not for "humanity."
But, in order to do so he assumity what is common to all of us:"he was like us in all things except sin."
That begs the question if we possess an abstract humanity.

Care to tell us what you are quoting?

 Humanity/human nature, for instance, would need a race of hermaphrodites, as both men and women are human beings, and yet not reduceable to a common core.
Not at all. The one human nature can have more than one mode of existence.
Only if you believe in modalism.

It is not essential to human nature to be male. It is not essential to human nature to be female. It essential to human nature to have a gender, either male or female. Do you understand the difference?
LOL. Yes, yet again, I understand the difference. And yet I point out that it is an incorrect understanding of humans.

And no, it is not an essentialist definition, as angels also can and do determine their destinies, as does God. But humans are neither angels nor God. Nominalism is vindicated.
First, the fact that we can choose our ends only demonstrates that we all having something in common: Free will, which demonstrates a common nature.

God, the angels, and human beings do not have a common nature.

Again, you are an essentialist.
Again, you have failed to demonstrate that.

Second, the fact that we can choose against our intended end (doesn't God have a particular end for us?)
(only if you are a Calvinist).

does not demonstrate that we shouldn't choose the proper end.

No one said we shouldn't.

Thus you have done nothing to bolster the position of nominalism. Of course, it's impossible to logically defend a self refuting philosophies but you sure are trying.
Ah, the power of fiat. LOL.

BTW, as long as you admit that we have a common nature, even if it's found in particular persons, you are not really a nominalist, but a realist.
As a realist, you would claim that, wouldn't you?
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« Reply #82 on: February 21, 2011, 05:13:28 PM »

the more conservative South is informed by Catholicism over Protestantism

Would you expand on this point, please?
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« Reply #83 on: February 21, 2011, 05:27:25 PM »

"In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles" -David Ben Gurion
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« Reply #84 on: February 21, 2011, 05:57:14 PM »

the more conservative South is informed by Catholicism over Protestantism

Would you expand on this point, please?

Basically, in the Western states, the Southern states are still "conservative" (Red States) but due to the native Mexican population this conservatism is due to the semi-indigenous Catholicism than the Protestantism brought over by the Anglo settlers.  This is a reversal on the Eastern portion of America, where the South is still Red State central, but more along Protestant Evangelical lines, while the North has more Catholics (and "high church" denominations) but is instead liberal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_the_United_States#Catholicism_by_state  Here is a list of states with their majority denominations.  I was somewhat wrong in my analysis of the Western North being informed by Protestantism, it has just as many Catholics as the Southern portion.  I'm really just thinking off the top of my head here, this thread has more entertainment value than actual importance to me.
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« Reply #85 on: February 21, 2011, 06:19:40 PM »

I am not a Platonist. I am an Aristotlean.
Given the choice between the two, so am I, so I guess no distinction there.

Yesterday this came up in our priest's talk on the Infant Jesus and Divine Omniscience.  He was saying that the Infant Jesus, due to the Incarnation, didn't know anything.  He admitted that that presupposed an Aristotelean idea of the acquisition of knowledge, rather than Platonism, in which knowledge is already ingrained. This, on the heels of a conversation I had with parisioners who teach philosophy and patristics, where I brought up that it seems philosophical schools bear more resemblance to religions than to, say, the branchs of mathmatics. It seems the philosophical schools do more than supply methodologies: they supply (or impose) some of the answers as well.

Take what we propose for human beings we found true of human beings, and assumes only human beings. It does not assume an abstract "humanity"
Your entire conversation assumes an abstract "humanity", otherwise what you are saying would be meaningless.
Not at all.  I can talk of languages, although no language in the abstract exists.

: Christ died for individual human beings, not for "humanity."
But, in order to do so he assumity what is common to all of us:"he was like us in all things except sin."
That begs the question if we possess an abstract humanity.

Care to tell us what you are quoting?

 Humanity/human nature, for instance, would need a race of hermaphrodites, as both men and women are human beings, and yet not reduceable to a common core.
Not at all. The one human nature can have more than one mode of existence.
Only if you believe in modalism.

It is not essential to human nature to be male. It is not essential to human nature to be female. It essential to human nature to have a gender, either male or female. Do you understand the difference?
LOL. Yes, yet again, I understand the difference. And yet I point out that it is an incorrect understanding of humans.

And no, it is not an essentialist definition, as angels also can and do determine their destinies, as does God. But humans are neither angels nor God. Nominalism is vindicated.
First, the fact that we can choose our ends only demonstrates that we all having something in common: Free will, which demonstrates a common nature.

God, the angels, and human beings do not have a common nature.

Again, you are an essentialist.
Again, you have failed to demonstrate that.

Second, the fact that we can choose against our intended end (doesn't God have a particular end for us?)
(only if you are a Calvinist).

does not demonstrate that we shouldn't choose the proper end.

No one said we shouldn't.

Thus you have done nothing to bolster the position of nominalism. Of course, it's impossible to logically defend a self refuting philosophies but you sure are trying.
Ah, the power of fiat. LOL.

BTW, as long as you admit that we have a common nature, even if it's found in particular persons, you are not really a nominalist, but a realist.
As a realist, you would claim that, wouldn't you?
Making alot of what you think are clever statements is not an argument Isa. You can do better than that.
As for what I was quoting, : The epistle to the Hebrews.
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« Reply #86 on: February 21, 2011, 06:42:42 PM »

the more conservative South is informed by Catholicism over Protestantism

Would you expand on this point, please?

Basically, in the Western states, the Southern states are still "conservative" (Red States) but due to the native Mexican population this conservatism is due to the semi-indigenous Catholicism than the Protestantism brought over by the Anglo settlers.  This is a reversal on the Eastern portion of America, where the South is still Red State central, but more along Protestant Evangelical lines, while the North has more Catholics (and "high church" denominations) but is instead liberal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_the_United_States#Catholicism_by_state  Here is a list of states with their majority denominations.  I was somewhat wrong in my analysis of the Western North being informed by Protestantism, it has just as many Catholics as the Southern portion.  I'm really just thinking off the top of my head here, this thread has more entertainment value than actual importance to me.

Thanks. I misunderstood earlier. I thought you were suggesting that the Southeastern US was more Catholic than Protestant.
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« Reply #87 on: February 21, 2011, 06:49:57 PM »

I am not a Platonist. I am an Aristotlean.
Given the choice between the two, so am I, so I guess no distinction there.

Yesterday this came up in our priest's talk on the Infant Jesus and Divine Omniscience.  He was saying that the Infant Jesus, due to the Incarnation, didn't know anything.  He admitted that that presupposed an Aristotelean idea of the acquisition of knowledge, rather than Platonism, in which knowledge is already ingrained. This, on the heels of a conversation I had with parisioners who teach philosophy and patristics, where I brought up that it seems philosophical schools bear more resemblance to religions than to, say, the branchs of mathmatics. It seems the philosophical schools do more than supply methodologies: they supply (or impose) some of the answers as well.

Take what we propose for human beings we found true of human beings, and assumes only human beings. It does not assume an abstract "humanity"
Your entire conversation assumes an abstract "humanity", otherwise what you are saying would be meaningless.
Not at all.  I can talk of languages, although no language in the abstract exists.

: Christ died for individual human beings, not for "humanity."
But, in order to do so he assumity what is common to all of us:"he was like us in all things except sin."
That begs the question if we possess an abstract humanity.

Care to tell us what you are quoting?

 Humanity/human nature, for instance, would need a race of hermaphrodites, as both men and women are human beings, and yet not reduceable to a common core.
Not at all. The one human nature can have more than one mode of existence.
Only if you believe in modalism.

It is not essential to human nature to be male. It is not essential to human nature to be female. It essential to human nature to have a gender, either male or female. Do you understand the difference?
LOL. Yes, yet again, I understand the difference. And yet I point out that it is an incorrect understanding of humans.

And no, it is not an essentialist definition, as angels also can and do determine their destinies, as does God. But humans are neither angels nor God. Nominalism is vindicated.
First, the fact that we can choose our ends only demonstrates that we all having something in common: Free will, which demonstrates a common nature.

God, the angels, and human beings do not have a common nature.

Again, you are an essentialist.
Again, you have failed to demonstrate that.

Second, the fact that we can choose against our intended end (doesn't God have a particular end for us?)
(only if you are a Calvinist).

does not demonstrate that we shouldn't choose the proper end.

No one said we shouldn't.

Thus you have done nothing to bolster the position of nominalism. Of course, it's impossible to logically defend a self refuting philosophies but you sure are trying.
Ah, the power of fiat. LOL.

BTW, as long as you admit that we have a common nature, even if it's found in particular persons, you are not really a nominalist, but a realist.
As a realist, you would claim that, wouldn't you?
Making alot of what you think are clever statements is not an argument Isa. You can do better than that.

Given what I have to work with/what I'm responding to.  Don't want to argue both pro and con by myself.

As for what I was quoting, : The epistle to the Hebrews.
Care to cite the chapter and verse?
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« Reply #88 on: February 21, 2011, 07:59:03 PM »

Can anyone point me to something similar to this elsewhere in the world?

Yes, I know it's pure Protestantism, but those of us outside the US simply don't understand what's going on here.
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« Reply #89 on: February 21, 2011, 08:07:35 PM »

Can anyone point me to something similar to this elsewhere in the world?

Yes, I know it's pure Protestantism, but those of us outside the US simply don't understand what's going on here.

Here is an article by George Monbiot from 2003 that appeared in The Guardian.  "America Is A Religion"  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/jul/29/usa.comment

"...this notion of election has been conflated with another, still more dangerous idea. It is not just that the Americans are God's chosen people; America itself is now perceived as a divine project."

Fr. Thomas Hopko has referenced a book on the same subject a couple of times in his podcasts, but I can't seem to figure out what it is.
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« Reply #90 on: February 21, 2011, 08:38:08 PM »

Can anyone point me to something similar to this elsewhere in the world?

Yes, I know it's pure Protestantism, but those of us outside the US simply don't understand what's going on here.

It's called niche marketing. Here's an example from the other side of the world:

Quote
The Aussie Bible

Jesus is born (Luke 2:1-7)

In those days Caesar Augustus ordered a head count of the whole Roman world. (This was the first big tally, when Quirinius ran the Syrian branch of the empire.) And everyone had to go back to the bit of country they were born in to fill in the forms.

So Joe hiked up from Nazareth (in Galilee shire) to Bethlehem (in Judea shire) because this spot in the mulga was where King David came from, and Joe's family tree had King David up in the top branches. He went there to fill in the forms and sign the register with his fiance, Mary, who was pretty near nine months by this time. While they were there, she gave birth to a baby boy. She wrapped him in a bunny rug, and tucked him up in a feed trough in a back shed, because the pub was full to bursting.

http://www.catholicaustralia.com.au/page.php?pg=scripture-aussiebible1
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« Reply #91 on: February 21, 2011, 10:15:23 PM »

Can anyone point me to something similar to this elsewhere in the world?

Yes, I know it's pure Protestantism, but those of us outside the US simply don't understand what's going on here.

It's called niche marketing. Here's an example from the other side of the world:

Quote
The Aussie Bible

Jesus is born (Luke 2:1-7)

In those days Caesar Augustus ordered a head count of the whole Roman world. (This was the first big tally, when Quirinius ran the Syrian branch of the empire.) And everyone had to go back to the bit of country they were born in to fill in the forms.

So Joe hiked up from Nazareth (in Galilee shire) to Bethlehem (in Judea shire) because this spot in the mulga was where King David came from, and Joe's family tree had King David up in the top branches. He went there to fill in the forms and sign the register with his fiance, Mary, who was pretty near nine months by this time. While they were there, she gave birth to a baby boy. She wrapped him in a bunny rug, and tucked him up in a feed trough in a back shed, because the pub was full to bursting.

http://www.catholicaustralia.com.au/page.php?pg=scripture-aussiebible1
A most interesting find! I rather like the "pub". An "inn" in NT times was most certainly not a renovated Victorian mansion in a genteel part of town. "Brothel" would work, too. There is a delightful earthiness in this paraphrase that would make entertaining reading. Of course, not at all suitable for liturgical use or serious study.

However, I'm not thinking about a dialectal translation/paraphrase (that is quite a separate issue  Wink), but was noticing in the product description of the Bible I linked to:
Quote
The story of the United States is wonderfully woven into the teachings of the Bible and includes a beautiful full-color family record section, memorable images from our nation's history and hundreds of enlightening articles which complement the New King James Version Bible text.
It's the apparent equating of US history with the teachings of the Bible that I find to be a distinctively American phenomenon.

It would be easy to take this off onto a tangent showing how Protestants are quite willing to weave national cultural tradition into their understanding of the Bible for enlightenment, and they even include appropriate icons (images).
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« Reply #92 on: February 21, 2011, 10:18:14 PM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
I wonder what he means by existentialism. Does he mean that we learn the truth by experiencing and living it, or, does he mean what sartre taught, that we have no termined "natures" or "essences" are we simply are whatever we decide to be?

You would fail an undergraduate exam with an answer like that.

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« Reply #93 on: February 22, 2011, 12:30:27 AM »

It's the apparent equating of US history with the teachings of the Bible that I find to be a distinctively American phenomenon.

It would be easy to take this off onto a tangent showing how Protestants are quite willing to weave national cultural tradition into their understanding of the Bible for enlightenment, and they even include appropriate icons (images).

How long have you been Orthodox?
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« Reply #94 on: February 22, 2011, 12:45:37 AM »

It's the apparent equating of US history with the teachings of the Bible that I find to be a distinctively American phenomenon.

It would be easy to take this off onto a tangent showing how Protestants are quite willing to weave national cultural tradition into their understanding of the Bible for enlightenment, and they even include appropriate icons (images).

How long have you been Orthodox?

How is this relevant?
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« Reply #95 on: February 22, 2011, 10:34:29 AM »

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."  -G.K. Chesterton

I like Chesterton's view of patriotism. We love our mothers whether they are drunk or sober. Though, we prefer them to be sober and would work to help maintain their state of sobriety. In a similar way, we love our homeland whether it is right or wrong, but we prefer it be right. Therefore, when it is wrong, we do everything in our power to correct it's course. That is the true patriot.

As an Existentialst, I'm fascinated with the concept that homeland is determined by the accident of birth. Of course, it that were consistent, then there would be no America, which might suit many Amerindians quite fine.

Whom has influenced your position on being an Existentialist?
I wonder what he means by existentialism. Does he mean that we learn the truth by experiencing and living it, or, does he mean what sartre taught, that we have no termined "natures" or "essences" are we simply are whatever we decide to be?

You would fail an undergraduate exam with an answer like that.


It wasn't an answer. It was a question silly. I was trying to figure out if Izzy called himself an existentialist according to the actual definition, or if he meant what many philosophical laymen mean by the term. Why not come down off your high horse and drop your smug sense of superiority?
Oh, and if you would like to know, I just earn an A on my fisrt philosophy paper for the semester in my masters degree program. The professor the described it as excellent... Thanks be to God!
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« Reply #96 on: February 22, 2011, 10:43:38 AM »

I am not a Platonist. I am an Aristotlean.
Given the choice between the two, so am I, so I guess no distinction there.

Yesterday this came up in our priest's talk on the Infant Jesus and Divine Omniscience.  He was saying that the Infant Jesus, due to the Incarnation, didn't know anything.  He admitted that that presupposed an Aristotelean idea of the acquisition of knowledge, rather than Platonism, in which knowledge is already ingrained. This, on the heels of a conversation I had with parisioners who teach philosophy and patristics, where I brought up that it seems philosophical schools bear more resemblance to religions than to, say, the branchs of mathmatics. It seems the philosophical schools do more than supply methodologies: they supply (or impose) some of the answers as well.

Take what we propose for human beings we found true of human beings, and assumes only human beings. It does not assume an abstract "humanity"
Your entire conversation assumes an abstract "humanity", otherwise what you are saying would be meaningless.
Not at all.  I can talk of languages, although no language in the abstract exists.

: Christ died for individual human beings, not for "humanity."
But, in order to do so he assumity what is common to all of us:"he was like us in all things except sin."
That begs the question if we possess an abstract humanity.

Care to tell us what you are quoting?

Humanity/human nature, for instance, would need a race of hermaphrodites, as both men and women are human beings, and yet not reduceable to a common core.
Not at all. The one human nature can have more than one mode of existence.
Only if you believe in modalism.

It is not essential to human nature to be male. It is not essential to human nature to be female. It essential to human nature to have a gender, either male or female. Do you understand the difference?
LOL. Yes, yet again, I understand the difference. And yet I point out that it is an incorrect understanding of humans.

And no, it is not an essentialist definition, as angels also can and do determine their destinies, as does God. But humans are neither angels nor God. Nominalism is vindicated.
First, the fact that we can choose our ends only demonstrates that we all having something in common: Free will, which demonstrates a common nature.

God, the angels, and human beings do not have a common nature.

Again, you are an essentialist.
Again, you have failed to demonstrate that.

Second, the fact that we can choose against our intended end (doesn't God have a particular end for us?)
(only if you are a Calvinist).

does not demonstrate that we shouldn't choose the proper end.

No one said we shouldn't.

Thus you have done nothing to bolster the position of nominalism. Of course, it's impossible to logically defend a self refuting philosophies but you sure are trying.
Ah, the power of fiat. LOL.

BTW, as long as you admit that we have a common nature, even if it's found in particular persons, you are not really a nominalist, but a realist.
As a realist, you would claim that, wouldn't you?
Making alot of what you think are clever statements is not an argument Isa. You can do better than that.

Given what I have to work with/what I'm responding to.  Don't want to argue both pro and con by myself.

As for what I was quoting, : The epistle to the Hebrews.
Care to cite the chapter and verse?
On the first point,  I will say that you are going to have to drop your intellectual infantilism . I suggest you try a bit harder. On the second, point I made an error and quoted what I thought the bible verse said. It actually said that he was tempted like us in all things. My mistake and I happily admit that, though I doubt that you would ever demonstrate such magnanimity. That being said, I offer you this:
Is it not an EO teaching that "that which is not assumed is not saved"? If it is the case that this is true, then you can't be an existentialist. For, we know that Christ did not assume individual humans (as neither I nor you were assumed) when he was incarnate and we are not nestorians who believe that Jesus was a distinct person from the Logos, who was assumed by the Logos. The only other possibility is that he assumed that which is common to us, and by def intion, that which is common to us is our humanity, i.e. our human nature. Therefore, to be an existentialist, in the classical understanding of the term, is to be a heretic who denies the incarnation. Congratulations.
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« Reply #97 on: February 22, 2011, 10:47:51 AM »

It's the apparent equating of US history with the teachings of the Bible that I find to be a distinctively American phenomenon.

It would be easy to take this off onto a tangent showing how Protestants are quite willing to weave national cultural tradition into their understanding of the Bible for enlightenment, and they even include appropriate icons (images).

How long have you been Orthodox?

How is this relevant?

Weaving nationalism into Biblical exposition is hardly an exclusively "Protestant" or "distinctively American phenomenon." One could replace "Protestant" with "Orthodox" and "US"/"American" with "Greek" or "Russian" in the above observations and still have true statements. If he has been Orthodox only a short time, his failure to recognize this is understandable.
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« Reply #98 on: February 22, 2011, 11:20:22 AM »

It's the apparent equating of US history with the teachings of the Bible that I find to be a distinctively American phenomenon.

It would be easy to take this off onto a tangent showing how Protestants are quite willing to weave national cultural tradition into their understanding of the Bible for enlightenment, and they even include appropriate icons (images).

How long have you been Orthodox?

How is this relevant?

Weaving nationalism into Biblical exposition is hardly an exclusively "Protestant" or "distinctively American phenomenon." One could replace "Protestant" with "Orthodox" and "US"/"American" with "Greek" or "Russian" in the above observations and still have true statements. If he has been Orthodox only a short time, his failure to recognize this is understandable.

Or he is part of a parish that isn't nationalistic.  They do exist.
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« Reply #99 on: February 22, 2011, 11:30:04 AM »

It's the apparent equating of US history with the teachings of the Bible that I find to be a distinctively American phenomenon.

It would be easy to take this off onto a tangent showing how Protestants are quite willing to weave national cultural tradition into their understanding of the Bible for enlightenment, and they even include appropriate icons (images).

How long have you been Orthodox?

How is this relevant?

Weaving nationalism into Biblical exposition is hardly an exclusively "Protestant" or "distinctively American phenomenon." One could replace "Protestant" with "Orthodox" and "US"/"American" with "Greek" or "Russian" in the above observations and still have true statements. If he has been Orthodox only a short time, his failure to recognize this is understandable.

Or he is part of a parish that isn't nationalistic.  They do exist.

Riiiiiiight.  Wink
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« Reply #100 on: February 22, 2011, 11:32:25 AM »

It's the apparent equating of US history with the teachings of the Bible that I find to be a distinctively American phenomenon.

It would be easy to take this off onto a tangent showing how Protestants are quite willing to weave national cultural tradition into their understanding of the Bible for enlightenment, and they even include appropriate icons (images).

How long have you been Orthodox?

How is this relevant?

Weaving nationalism into Biblical exposition is hardly an exclusively "Protestant" or "distinctively American phenomenon." One could replace "Protestant" with "Orthodox" and "US"/"American" with "Greek" or "Russian" in the above observations and still have true statements. If he has been Orthodox only a short time, his failure to recognize this is understandable.

Or he is part of a parish that isn't nationalistic.  They do exist.

Riiiiiiight.  Wink

I didn't say they were common...   Grin
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« Reply #101 on: February 22, 2011, 11:52:44 AM »

Quote
No, the Person of Christ preceeded the existence of the man Christ. In fact, the Incarnation cannot work in any other way. Christ could not "advance in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men" (Lk. 2:52. Btw, I just noticed that a comparison of this and Lk. 2:40 nullifies the attempt to use Lk. 1:28 as prooftext for the IC) if His essence preceeded His existence.

We can't look to God to see if essence precedes existence because with God they are one in the same, but He is the only Being who could possibly have that happen for Him.

So we look to the dual natures of Christ and therein lies the problem. If there is no human nature, then the Church Fathers and the Church herself has been wrong for nearly 2,000 years referring to the dual natures of Christ. How can we say that Christ had a divine nature and a human nature when, in fact, there is no human nature? So while the person of the Word precedes the existence of the Incarnate Jesus, the Incarnate Jesus does not precede human nature.

Quote
You're going to have to thresh that out a bit before I can answer it.

The Church Fathers taught that there was a distinct human nature that was given to us at creation. That because God thought of us both as individuals and as a whole prior to creating us, this is what we were given. Likewise, they state quite emphatically and literally that Christ took on human nature in order to redeem it; but if human nature doesn't exist, what is there to redeem?

Anyway, I digress. Creation was done, especially with man, for everything according to its nature. The reason Sartre stated that our being precedes our essence is because as an atheist he believed there was no point to life. But creation by God indicates that there is a purpose in life, which requires there to be a nature. After all, what is there for us to live up to if there is nothing that unifies us humans? In fact, how can you even use the word "human" if there is no nature and therefore no unifying factor for those who give the appearance of 'rational animals'?

Quote
Can you give specifics?

Well I've already shown how your view is sadly detrimental to both the Incarnation and the purpose of the Incarnation. I would say the fact that the Church Fathers consistently spoke of a unifying human nature, something we were supposed to live up to, something that was redeemed by Christ, should be sufficient enough.

I hate to be so bleak, but you must accept Sartre on this point or the Church, but you can't have both.
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« Reply #102 on: February 22, 2011, 12:02:45 PM »

I don't think a parish community can exist without a dominant national identity, and thus some degree of nationalism.  The problem becomes whether a community is willing to accept and one who comes to the church.

Having a dominant national identity is very helpful.  It allows the community to have a common understanding of one another and a single means of communicating the Gospel.  There is a set way of dealing with internal conflict.  I have a parish where no one culture is preeminent, and it is very difficult to manage even basics like stewardship.  Some group is always offended.

Nationalism gets a bad wrap.  I think it is bad when it is used as an excuse for hating someone else.  Beyond that, I think it can be a positive attribute.  It has become very vogue in some intellectual circles to poo-poo Nationalism, but this quickly degenerates into an 'internationalist elitism' that looks down its nose at all those 'commoners' who still wave their flags, not realizing they have picked up on the worst temptation of Nationalism (namely, elitism).

We are now seeing how this is playing out in the Middle East.  For years, Arabic-speakers have been taught to hate Israel and America, while their dictators have fleeced them.  The leaders used the nationalistic call to distract the people from their real problems (i.e. corruption, depotism, etc.), in addition to using Mohammedanism as an excuse to justify their virulent hatred.  Now, they are discovering that their leaders are far worse than America.  The real enemy is at home.

Yet, the internationalist elites in the US and Europe, who despise Nationalism in Europe and America, never questioned the Nationalism of the Middle East and Africa.  Instead, this was permitted under the guise of 'multi-culturalism,' which works very well so long as you don't examine it too closely.  Once you start examining these other cultures, you find how really awful some of them are.  This is why cultures change, and we hope that Mr. Darwin is right and they are evolving for the better.

Then I look at rappers, and begin to wonder...   Embarrassed

Nationalism is, by definition, the extolling of one's culture.  It is good to have a culture you are comfortable with.  If you don't have one, they you will always be uncomfortable and, to some degree, isolated.  I don't tbhink you can make an argument that isolation is a good thing.


It's the apparent equating of US history with the teachings of the Bible that I find to be a distinctively American phenomenon.

It would be easy to take this off onto a tangent showing how Protestants are quite willing to weave national cultural tradition into their understanding of the Bible for enlightenment, and they even include appropriate icons (images).

How long have you been Orthodox?

How is this relevant?

Weaving nationalism into Biblical exposition is hardly an exclusively "Protestant" or "distinctively American phenomenon." One could replace "Protestant" with "Orthodox" and "US"/"American" with "Greek" or "Russian" in the above observations and still have true statements. If he has been Orthodox only a short time, his failure to recognize this is understandable.

Or he is part of a parish that isn't nationalistic.  They do exist.

Riiiiiiight.  Wink

I didn't say they were common...   Grin
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« Reply #103 on: February 22, 2011, 12:19:59 PM »

FatherGiryus,
Nationalism and having a culture are two quite different realities.
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« Reply #104 on: February 22, 2011, 12:27:18 PM »

It's the apparent equating of US history with the teachings of the Bible that I find to be a distinctively American phenomenon.

It would be easy to take this off onto a tangent showing how Protestants are quite willing to weave national cultural tradition into their understanding of the Bible for enlightenment, and they even include appropriate icons (images).

How long have you been Orthodox?

How is this relevant?

Weaving nationalism into Biblical exposition is hardly an exclusively "Protestant" or "distinctively American phenomenon." One could replace "Protestant" with "Orthodox" and "US"/"American" with "Greek" or "Russian" in the above observations and still have true statements. If he has been Orthodox only a short time, his failure to recognize this is understandable.

Or he is part of a parish that isn't nationalistic.  They do exist.

Riiiiiiight.  Wink

I didn't say they were common...   Grin
Hey, you guys are going on about me without me!

If you refer back to the original point of this thread, my comment should make sense. We Canadians see the "US patriotism = Evangelical Protestantism" equation as something quite different from our concept of nationhood. It's simply a statement that reflects my own experience.

I am quite aware of "Holy Mother Russia", and how Greece is the font of all the good things in western civilization (humourously stereotyped in a certain "Wedding" movie  Smiley)

That being said, I'm sure that there are parallels with Scriptural themes and history to be found in the annals of any country.

As to my own parish: we are very small; thirty on a Sunday morning would be a crowd. We're probably as "non-ethnic" as an Orthodox parish is likely to be. One family who immigrated from Lebanon long enough ago that their adult children were born here, one man who came from Syria as a child over fifty years ago, an 80+ woman born here of Lebanese immigrants. We really are run-of-the-mill ordinary Canadians.

But we're proud to be Canadian, and we're just getting started on planning a "Canadian Royal Orthodox weekend" to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012. So yes, we're playing the nationalism card here, but a "Canadian Patriot's Bible" just doesn't sit well. Canadians and USAers really are different.
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« Reply #105 on: February 22, 2011, 12:35:18 PM »

No, they are part of the same phenomenon.
FatherGiryus,
Nationalism and having a culture are two quite different realities.
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« Reply #106 on: February 22, 2011, 12:37:17 PM »

We really are run-of-the-mill ordinary Canadians.

Canadians are ordinary?!?!?!?!?!


(My mother is Canadian....)
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« Reply #107 on: February 22, 2011, 12:41:05 PM »

No, they are part of the same phenomenon.
FatherGiryus,
Nationalism and having a culture are two quite different realities.

I believe we are working with slightly different definitions...  but I think I get what you are saying.


Anyways, back to Americans.  Are they crazy, or what?
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« Reply #108 on: February 22, 2011, 01:13:21 PM »

a "Canadian Patriot's Bible" just doesn't sit well.



What a Canadian Patriot's Bible may look like.
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« Reply #109 on: February 22, 2011, 01:18:50 PM »

No, they are part of the same phenomenon.
FatherGiryus,
Nationalism and having a culture are two quite different realities.

I believe we are working with slightly different definitions...  but I think I get what you are saying.


Anyways, back to Americans.  Are they crazy, or what?
I just think that it's the "hip" and "in" thing to despise americans. A sort of monkey see monkey do.
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« Reply #110 on: February 24, 2011, 03:02:30 PM »

Isa, back to you being an existentialist for a moment. Isn't Existentialism just a less direct nihilism posing as logic? It is pure aphorism. It is a self refuting school of philosophy in exactly the same way nihilism, post modernism and realism are. Their propositions are examples of the things they say are questionable/impossible...right?
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« Reply #111 on: April 18, 2011, 01:40:02 AM »

Michal - Regarding your perplexity about humor, I would say that humor is almost always culture-specific. Here are two stories that illustrate my point:

A few years back, I worked at a company where I was supposed to take pictures of the processes used by people assembling machinery on an assembly line. Most of the people who worked on the assembly line were Russian, and so was their boss. The boss said, "If you slow down my people, I will kill you! Hah hah hah." Evidently he thought that was a very funny joke. Um, at least I hoped it was a joke?

Then there was a time that I was at a church function with a friend of mine, an older Russian man (in his late 50s I would guess) who grew up during the Communist era in Russia. My son, a toddler, was acting up and not behaving. He turned to me and said, "Do you know what we Orthodox do in Russia when a child misbehaves like that? We beat them! Hah hah hah!" He thought this was hysterical. I failed to see the humor in his comment - I still wonder if it was really meant to be funny?

Again, my point is not to paint any culture with a broad brush (that's always a mistake) but to say that humor - and what humor is acceptable and what is not - differs from culture to culture. In the US, acceptable humor varies from region to region, class to class, culture to culture, race to race, generation to generation, etc.
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« Reply #112 on: May 02, 2011, 06:46:27 PM »

Those don't sound very odd to me.
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« Reply #113 on: May 02, 2011, 06:50:33 PM »

Isa, back to you being an existentialist for a moment. Isn't Existentialism just a less direct nihilism posing as logic? It is pure aphorism. It is a self refuting school of philosophy in exactly the same way nihilism, post modernism and realism are. Their propositions are examples of the things they say are questionable/impossible...right?
I'm not Izzy, but yes, its a sort of nihilism and it is self refuting. Smiley
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« Reply #114 on: May 02, 2011, 08:13:18 PM »

a "Canadian Patriot's Bible" just doesn't sit well.



What a Canadian Patriot's Bible may look like.

Truth.
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« Reply #115 on: May 03, 2011, 12:36:39 AM »

If I may speak up as an American who has travelled and lived outside the US for considerable periods of time, I'd like to offer some insights.  I am the decendent of:

1) a convict expelled from his homeland and 'sentenced' to America.
2) several war refugees.
3) numerous people seeking fortunes in the New World.
4) a bunch of others I can't account for.

The American mythos within my lineage, as a result of the circumstances listed above, goes something like this:

1) my homeland was lousy.
2) my countrymen were backwards and/or mean.
3) God has been merciful in bringing me here.
4) hey, it beats prison back home.

Americans are at once attracted to other cultures as they are revulsed by them, the latter in large part because we are the descendents of the discontent from your country (fill in the nation).

The gun issue is, in large part, due to systemic distrust of government.  After all, many of us here are the descendents of those who were persecuted by their home governments.  Guns make it awful difficult for the state to do 'what they did last time.'  Americans, traditionally speaking, don't like government or being governed, but they rebel mostly by voting wildly.

The matter of Obama, I agree, ought to be discussed in the political forum.  However, I will say it is an American tradition to vote for someone and then make his/her life as difficult as possible.  Politicians and clergy are expected to 'stand and take it.'  The ones that don't either are really, really good at manipulating or they have short careers.



I think this is a well thought out explanation. One needs to remember the "American" is not a homogeneous one-celled creature, but of made of many diverse parts. Please, be kind, and do not use a broad stroke when you express your curiosity about "Americans."

Lord, have mercy!
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« Reply #116 on: May 03, 2011, 12:42:19 AM »

There is an assumption in this thread that America has a unified culture that marks us as distinctly American. I would contend against this idea and say that even within America, we only have sub cultures without a meta-culture (though the sub-cultures are different from other world cultures, thus Americans as a whole appear different).

For instance, spend time in Dallas, TX, Abilene, TX, a small town in Missouri, a small town in Washington, Los Angeles, CA, and New York, New York and you will experience multiple cultures that are greatly distinct from each other.

For instance, name an American language, cuisine, music style, etc. Fact is, every dialect of English found in America, every type of food, every type of music, are parts of American sub-culture...but there is no unifying factor in American culture. I love cajun food because of the spices, but most people in the Northeastern United States will hate it because it's too spicy (and apparently the only spice they're aware of in New England is ketchup). A meal in the midwest will gross out someone from the West Coast. The accents of someone from southwest Louisiana or northern Alabama are almost unrecognizable to someone from Boston or Maine.

It used to be said that there was an underlying ethos that united Americans, one of the first cultures built upon a unifying idea rather than language or any other cultural traits; but we don't even have that anymore.

If anything, there is no such thing as an American culture; just multiple cultures unified by a government. Thus, what many "foreigners" (such a subjective term!) fail to realize when they meet an American is they are not meeting someone who represents American culture, but only represents one of the cultures in the nation of the United States. Thus, the US appears confusing and contradictory to the rest of the world because we are a contradiction.

Again, well stated.
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« Reply #117 on: May 03, 2011, 06:26:20 AM »

Your jokes, your references to the popculture, some of your problems, your slang...

Michał, I believe you should try watching "The Simpsons" in English (only not the current season which is the worst one ever!). There's a lot to learn about the US from this TV series. Useful links: www.wtso.net & www.iwatchsimpsonsonline.com.
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« Reply #118 on: May 03, 2011, 06:30:12 PM »

Taking into account that the US citizens make 80%+ users of the forum I am interested in the opinions of the rest about them. There are loads of things they discuss about that I can't understand at all and I wonder wether you (people outside the USA) experience a similar thing.
I am Canadian and I don't understand the extremism sometimes as if issues are black & white.  I don't understand the whole Obama thing.  When he was elected it looked like they were all proud to have their first black president and it was a turning point in their history like Kennedy and then suddenly after he was in office the most horrible things began to be said about him on the internet.  I don't undertand why disagreements have to get so personal: I mean you can disagree with a person without making a demon out of him.  Let's be civil.  Some times I see that here too when disagreements turn so vicious.


Also what I see as a tendency for Americans to be so American-centred.  There is a whole world out there and America is not the centre of the universe.  Just my view, but it seems to me that Americans don't study enough world history when they are young and are not aware of world politics/ history.  Or world literature too.  And I don't understand the whole gun thing.  It just seems so violent.

On the other hand I think Americans are in my opinion the most generous people as a nation.  They really donate a lot of money whenever there is a disaster any where in the world.  And they are very friendly truly interested in people when you meet them.  Non-Americans find this a problem, but I think Americans are kind without another motive  at all.

Better be glad we have those guns.  We will even use them to defend Canadians, too Wink
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« Reply #119 on: March 03, 2012, 02:03:14 AM »

On the first point,  I will say that you are going to have to drop your intellectual infantilism . I suggest you try a bit harder.
Don't know what you are considering the first point, but given your failure to answer it, I guess it doesn't matter.

On the second, point I made an error and quoted what I thought the bible verse said. It actually said that he was tempted like us in all things. My mistake and I happily admit that, though I doubt that you would ever demonstrate such magnanimity.

That being said, I offer you this:
Is it not an EO teaching that "that which is not assumed is not saved"?
That is what Spirit has taught through the Fathers.
If it is the case that this is true, then you can't be an existentialist.
I smell False Dilemma lurking about.
For, we know that Christ did not assume individual humans (as neither I nor you were assumed) when he was incarnate and we are not nestorians who believe that Jesus was a distinct person from the Logos, who was assumed by the Logos.
The Word did not assume Flesh as you assUme He did. 

Christ has a human nature and a divine nature, but if He were as you say, then what He has in common with the Father and the Spirit would be what would assume Flesh.  Divinity did not assume Flesh:the Person of the Son did.  Further, if He assumed what we have in common, then there would be no need for the Holy Mysteries:just by His Incarnation we would all put on Christ and would have no need to personally put Him on in being born again in baptism.  Humanity would be reborn as a whole with His birth.

Because we Existentialists do not accept the deterministic caricature of human nature of the scholastics does not prevent us from believing in the Incarnation.  If it were, then the divine architect of the deists would suffice as a god, as we would only need to pursue those ends which would be our natures.

The only other possibility is that he assumed that which is common to us, and by def intion, that which is common to us is our humanity, i.e. our human nature.
Not taking Aristotle as a prophet, we are not bound by his understanding.  It seems your master Aquinas didn't think so either, as in here he abandoned Aristotle for Plato (or rather, he received Aristotle mixed with Plato).

Facticity and authenticity define the parameters of human nature, not the reduction of man to his faculty of reason, much less the proffering of man as an automaton as the image and likeness of God.

Therefore, to be an existentialist, in the classical understanding of the term, is to be a heretic who denies the incarnation
Take the classical question of Existentialism, posed by Kierkegard himself:giving the reason for the identity of the beloved.  Existentialists know that one cannot give a rational explanation why one is in love with one person over another.  That doesn't obviate it as a fact.  For the "imprint theory of nature," it is irrelevant, as one human being of the opposite sex is as good as any other.  Perfectly rational argument, and totally false.  Human beings are not interchangeable, a fact sine qua non of human nature.  To entertain otherwise would be to flirt with the heresy of Origenism, which held individuality as a transient phase.

Congratulations.
I don't question your credentials to speak for heresy.
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A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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ialmisry
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« Reply #120 on: March 03, 2012, 02:03:14 AM »

Isa, back to you being an existentialist for a moment. Isn't Existentialism just a less direct nihilism posing as logic? It is pure aphorism. It is a self refuting school of philosophy in exactly the same way nihilism, post modernism and realism are. Their propositions are examples of the things they say are questionable/impossible...right?
I'm not Izzy, but yes, its a sort of nihilism and it is self refuting. Smiley
Thomists would hope so, of course, as Existentialism refutes their whole shtick, in particular their natural law nonsense.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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